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
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game