15% bonuses for John Lewis staff

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The Independent Online

John Lewis staff are to be rewarded with bonuses worth nearly eight weeks wages after profits jumped at the department store group.

The firm, which also owns Waitrose supermarkets, posted a 9.7 per cent rise in profits before tax and bonuses of £306.6 million for the year to January 30.

The results means the firm's 70,000 partners will now share a bonus pot of £151.3 million, with payments of 15 per cent of salary.

John Lewis said the year was one of "profound change" for the group, with the expansion of the Waitrose chain and a resilient performance at the department stores.

Waitrose was the group's star performer, with operating profits before property gains up 26.8 per cent to £268.2 million on gross revenues up 9 per cent to £4.5 billion.

Like-for-like sales excluding petrol grew 3.6 per cent on a 52-week basis.

The supermarket chain made "enormous progress" in the year as the group invested in new shops and formats.

"This, combined with the tremendous success of essential Waitrose has made the Waitrose brand more accessible to more customers in more parts of the United Kingdom," the group's chairman, Charlie Mayfield, said.

"Each week up to 400,000 more people are now choosing to shop at Waitrose."

The supermarket said its "everyday to gourmet" approach had proved a success with customers as its own label essential range appealed to those wanting to save money in the face of the recession, while products like "indulgent desserts" also performed strongly.

Waitrose, which added 25 new shops to its portfolio over the year, said it plans to continue its expansion with a further 20 stores in 2010, creating 2,500 new jobs.