John Lewis profits fund 18% staff bonuses

Thousands of John Lewis partners were today celebrating a bonus windfall worth nearly two months' pay as the company defied a gloomy spell for retailers.



The employee-owned firm said a strong year for its department stores and supermarket Waitrose meant its 76,500 staff will share a bonus pot of £194.5 million, up from last year's pool of £151 million.



Chairman Charlie Mayfield announced plans to create 4,300 jobs this year and invest £600 million in the business, but warned trading would be more difficult in 2011.



The bonus payout came as the partnership posted a 20% rise in pre-tax profits to £367.9 million for the year to January 31, as sales soared 10.6% to £8.21 billion.



As has become tradition, John Lewis partners gathered this morning before their stores opened and were told the bonus they will receive this year - 18% of their salary, roughly nine weeks pay.



The store's managing director and a chosen star performer or long-serving partner unveil the payout - to applause and cheers from the assembled employees.



John Lewis department stores have outperformed rivals recently as its more affluent consumers were able to cope better during the recession.



The group performed well through the freezing conditions that swept the country in December, but weekly sales figures since the end of January have suggested customers are starting to spend more cautiously.



But five weeks into the new financial year, Partnership gross sales were still 6.5% higher than last year, as both Waitrose and the department stores posted growth.



Mr Mayfield said the Partnership benefited from its multi-channel approach, including its department store website JL.com, which saw sales grow 38% to £538.2 million, as well as Waitrose Deliver and its supply relationship with online grocer Ocado.



John Lewis department stores posted like-for-like sales growth of 10% during the year, with operating profit returning to pre-recession levels after increasing by 22% to £201.2 million.



The group said sales were driven by growth in most departments, with fashion up 15%, home ahead 12%, and electricals and home technology lifting 8%.



A further three "at home" shops opened in Croydon, Swindon and Tunbridge Wells in 2010 and another three openings are planned this year.



A new John Lewis department store on the Olympic site at Stratford, in east London, will open later this year.



Elsewhere, Waitrose saw food sales on a like-for-like basis grow 4%, excluding petrol, while operating profits increased 3% to £274.9 million.



Twenty new branches opened during the year, including nine convenience stores, plus three relocations.



But looking ahead, Mr Mayfield warned the VAT increase, rising unemployment and public sector spending cuts would have an impact on consumer spending.



He also warned input price inflation was a threat - but the company was not yet seeing the level of inflation widely reported.



Maureen Hinton, practice leader at retail analyst Verdict, said competitive pricing triggered a strong year of trade for the Partnership.



But she added: "The challenge is achieving similar levels of growth in 2011 which is already looking to be a far more difficult year for consumer confidence and spending."



John Lewis Partnership announced on Sunday that it is raising £50 million through a retail bond issue aimed at customers.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Life and Style
tech
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) - Hertfordshire/Middlesex

£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style