Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

John Lewis profits top 306m as staff share big bonus

John Lewis
The John Lewis profits rise means staff will get a 15% bonus

Staff at John Lewis will share a £151m bonus after the retail group saw annual pre-tax profits rise 9.7% to £306.6m.

The owner of the Waitrose supermarket chain said the bonus amounted to about eight weeks' salary for each employee.

John Lewis chairman Charlie Mayfield said the company emerged from recession "in a stronger competitive position", but he warned that 2010 would be tough.

John Lewis said gross sales rose 6.5% to £7.4bn as it continued to take market share from rivals.

The company's 70,000 staff - or partners, as John Lewis calls them - will share a bonus pot of £151.3m, equivalent to about 15% of their salary.

"Today's results reflect the collective hard work of our partners," Mr Mayfield said. John Lewis's co-ownership model, "while not a universal panacea clearly underpins the partnership's performance", he said.

John Lewis, whose operations include 28 department stores and 225 Waitrose supermarkets, saw profits fall in the first half of the year.

But this was offset by a strong performance in the run-up to Christmas, with trading continuing to improve during the first few weeks of 2010.

Tough times ahead

John Lewis's "buying partners" check on other high street competitors' prices

Mr Mayfield said: "This was a year of profound change across the partnership... we have continued to invest, innovate and grow, emerging from the recession in a stronger competitive position."

However, 2010 would still be tough for the 146-year-old business, the company said in its annual statement.

"We anticipate more challenging trading in 2010, particularly in the second half of the year.

"The likely withdrawal of monetary stimulus, higher taxes, the possibility of increased interest rates and the implications of public spending cuts make for an uncertain outlook which is likely to impact on consumer confidence," the company warned.

In the year to 30 January, operating profit at John Lewis's department stores rose 15% to £165.9m. At Waitrose, the UK's fastest-growing grocer, it jumped 27% to £268.2m.

The Waitrose profits were driven by the popularity of its lower-priced "essential" range, launched last March, and rapid online growth.

For the first five weeks of the new financial year total sales were 13.5% higher, with department store sales up 17.5% and Waitrose sales rising 11.3%.



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Telegraph John Lewis faces tough year as staff share 151m - 6 hrs ago
Mail Online UK John Lewis staff rewarded with eight weeks' wage bonus after profits surge 10 per cent - 7 hrs ago
Reuters PRESS DIGEST - Financial Times - March 12 - 13 hrs ago
Build.co.uk John Lewis Sales Up - 22 hrs ago
Brand Republic John Lewis profits up 20% following 'year of profound change' - 25 hrs ago


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