John Lewis may drop staff bonus for first time since 1953 as high street retail pain continues


THOUSANDS of John Lewis staff may lose out on their annual bonus this year despite sales being up over the Christmas shopping period.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership – which includes John Lewis and Waitrose – warned in the firm’s Christmas trading statement today that the bonus may be axed.

 John Lewis has said staff may lose out on their bonus this year

Getty – Contributor

John Lewis has said staff may lose out on their bonus this year

He said: “The Board will need to consider carefully in March, following the usual process, whether payment of a bonus is prudent in the light of business and economic prospects at that time.”

If the bonus does get the chop, it will be the first time in 66 years – since 1953 – that it has hasn’t been paid.

Last year, bonuses for 84,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff were cut for the fifth year in a row to 5 per cent – the lowest payout since 1954 when it was 4 per cent.

Every member gets the same percentage, from shelf fillers to executives as the John Lewis group sees its staff as partners, rather than workers.

 In 2018 John Lewis staff received a 5 per cent bonus - the lowest amount since 1954

Getty Images – Getty

In 2018 John Lewis staff received a 5 per cent bonus – the lowest amount since 1954

The news comes as the retailer said sales were up 1.4 per cent to £2,207million between November 18, 2018 and January 5, 2019 compared to the same period last year.

But the department store chain has cautioned that gross margins “remained under pressure in what was an intensely competitive pricing environment”.

And said that it expects profits to be “substantially lower this year” due to slower sales growth, higher costs, and as a result of the firm’s continued investment in IT.

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Shops have suffered the worst Christmas since the financial crisis a decade ago, according to new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

Retailers such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, B&M and car and cycling chain Halfords reported financial results today, and they all saw falling sales over the Christmas period apart from Tesco.

John Lewis came under fire at Christmas after its Quality Street pic’n’mix ran out of shoppers’ favourites.

Meanwhile, Elton John was the star of John Lewis’ 2018 Christmas advert, although shoppers slammed it as being “awful”.

John Lewis Christmas advert 2018 – Watch new ad with Elton John singing Your Song in full


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