John Lewis staff to get eight-week bonus

The John Lewis Partnership is expected to hand its staff a bonus worth more than eight weeks' pay this week and to outline plans to further turn the screws on Middle England rival Marks & Spencer.

John Lewis, which owns Waitrose as well as the eponymous department store, will confirm it is one of the high street's big winners with a sharp rise in annual profit.

This will enable it to pay its 81,000 staff a bonus of between 15 per cent and 16 per cent of their salaries for the year to 26 January. This suggests a bonus pot of around £200m. While this will be higher than last year's payout of 14 per cent, equal to seven weeks' pay, it will be down on the whopping 18 per cent awarded two years ago.

John Lewis and Waitrose both saw record sales over Christmas. Waitrose outstripped Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons over the past year.

Retail analystNick Bubb has forecast that the group will grow its underlying annual profits by 17 per cent to £415m. This will compare with a recent decline in half-year profits at M&S, which has been suffering from falling fashion and homeware sales.

Last week, John Lewis said it would invest £57m in its 39 shops before 2014.

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