John Lewis staff set for bonus windfall

Employees at the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) are expected to toast an annual bonus payment of at least 15 per cent of salary when the retail group unveils its full-year results on Wednesday.

The group's eponymous department store and Waitrose grocery chain enjoyed a barnstorming 2010, but JLP's profits are likely to fall short of the record £379.8m delivered in 2007-08.

Nick Bubb, the analyst at Arden Partners, has forecast the group will post pre-tax profits of £352m for the year to the end of January, which would represent a 15 per cent leap on the previous year's £306.6m. He said: "John Lewis has been boosted by the strength of its range and service and increasingly an emphasis on its 'never knowingly undersold' policy." Mr Bubb also noted the department store's strong online sales last year.

Last year, JLP's 70,000 employees shared a bonus of 15 per cent of their salary, which was equivalent to nearly eight weeks of pay.

This year the group's staff are expected to receive a bonus of at least the same amount, although it could be as high as 17 per cent after the strong rise in profits in 2010-11. However, the group may take a cautious approach to awarding a higher payment than last year.

This is because JLP continues to face rising input costs and its"never knowingly undersold" price guarantee means it will have to match its high street rivals, which are having to push through substantial price rises. JLP declined to comment.