John Lewis staff get annual bonus bonanza thanks to windfall effect

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The Independent Online
STAFF at John Lewis Partnership are to enjoy their highest annual bonuses since the retail boom of the late 1980s, as the company announced a sharp increase in profits boosted by the effects of last year's building society windfalls.

Each of the 37,500 workers, from board level to the shop floor, will receive a bonus of 22 per cent of salary, up from 20 per cent last year. This equates to pounds 1,760 for the group's shopfloor workers who typically earn around pounds 8,000 a year and pounds 62,700 for Stuart Hampson, the chairman, who was paid pounds 285,000 last year. The bonuses are the highest at John Lewis since the record year of 1989 when they reached 24 per cent.

However, the company warned the retail climate would be more hostile this year with higher interest rates already dampening consumer demand. "Squalls rather than windfalls [are] predicted for the year ahead," Mr Hampson said. He added that next week's budget ought to be neutral for consumers for this reason.

John Lewis' pre-tax profits rose 15 per cent to pounds 250m in the year to January, helped by strong sales of home furnishings as a result of the building society bonanza.