85,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff celebrate 17 per cent bonus after record profits


Nearly 85,000 staff at the group behind the John Lewis and Waitrose chains celebrated a bumper bonus of 17 per cent today after barnstorming Christmas trading delivered record profits.

John Lewis Partnership’s eponymous department store chain was the High Street’s top performer over the festive period after its snowman TV advert helped to tap the purse strings of Middle England’s shoppers. While the stand-out performance was John Lewis online with sales of nearly £1bn, the retailer’s stores also delivered scorching sales of Apple’s iPad, Liz Earle beauty products and Lego mini figures.

Its stablemate Waitrose chain also posted strong sales after an initiative to match the price on at least 1,000 branded products, excluding promotions, at Tesco helped it further shed its ‘posh and pricey’ image.

JLP’s 84,700 employees were awarded a bonus of 17 per cent of their salary yesterday – equal to nearly nine weeks’ pay – from pot of £210.8m. This was up on last year’s payout of 14 per cent.

The group’s powerful performance came in a year when scores of High Street names, including electricals chain Comet, sportswear specialist JJB and camera retailer Jessops, disappeared. It also contrasts with a recent fall in half-year profits at rival Marks & Spencer, which has been struggling to shift its fashion and homewares.

JLP delivered record profits, excluding the staff bonus, up by 15.8 per cent to £409.6m over the year to January 26, on revenues higher by 9.3 per cent to £9.54 billion. This beat the group’s previous record profits of £407m in 2008, which had been inflated by a credit on the balance sheet from its former stake in online grocer Ocado.

Charlie Mayfield, JLP’s chairman, said: “Retail is no longer a commodity game. The people who succeed are the ones who really add value.”

He added the performance of John Lewis had “not particularly” been affected by January’s snow, which rival Debenhams had blamed for a profit warning this week.

Mayfield said: “I firmly believe you have to create your own luck in retail.”

John Lewis has benefited from the recent demise of Comet, Jessops and entertainment chain HMV - as consumers have sought the reassurance of its Never Knowingly Undersold price promise and warranty guarantee - with its electricals sales up by 29 per cent.

Profits at John Lewis, which has 39 shops, rose by 37.2 per cent to £216.7m. The department store chain’s total sales rose by 13.5 per cent to £3.78bn, driven by a 41 per cent spike in online revenues to £959m.

Mr Mayfield hailed the “quiet revolution” of its significant investment in the group’s supply chain and IT, citing how new systems had improved Waitrose’s product availability.

The supermarket chain grew its underlying sales by 3.4 per cent over the year, which was significantly ahead of rivals, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

This helped the grocer grow its profits by 12.2 per cent to £292.3m, on revenues up by 6.8 per cent to £5.42bn. 

Mr Mayfield struck a cautious but optimistic note on consumer spending. “I think it is stabilising and perhaps showing signs of improvement. We do see this as a time of opportunity for us and we are determined to seize it.”

He added: “But it is not going to be plain sailing. Some of the shocks we have had to cope with over the last five years have eased. This time a year ago there were some concerns that the Euro would implode but that has not happened so it does feel more stable. We will continue to see a fairly slow-growth economy for some time to come.“

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas