John Lewis reinstates bonus after profits rebound - one year after announcing Sheffield store closure

The John Lewis Partnership has restored its annual bonus and unveiled a pay rise for its near 80,000-strong workforce after annual profits rebounded 38 per cent.

Thursday, 10th March 2022, 2:35 pm

Staff at the retail giant, which also owns upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose, will share a £46m pot.

It marks the return of payouts after it was forced to scrap last year’s staff bonus for the first time since 1953.

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Agents marketing former Debenhams in Sheffield city centre speaking to two poten...

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John Lewis in Sheffield city centre closed last summer. Picture: Chris Etchells

Last month, former Sheffield MP Richard Caborn blasted the boss of John Lewis - which closed its store in Sheffield city centre last summer - for ‘destroying’ one of the most respected brands on the high street.

Mr Caborn said Pippa Wicks had ‘undermined and destroyed’ the firm’s hallmark of trust, built up over nearly a century.

He spoke out after the firm said it was retiring its Never Knowingly Undersold slogan and axing a commitment to refund the difference if customers found products cheaper.

The company fired 300 staff in Sheffield stating it could ‘no longer profitably’ sustain the store.

The bonus news came as the group reported underlying pre-tax profits rising to £181m in the year to January 29 thanks to a record £4.9 billion sales haul at the department stores, up eight per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Chairwoman Dame Sharon White hailed a “good start” to the group’s five-year overhaul, but warned of “uncertainties” amid the Ukraine conflict and rising inflation, with prices having to increase in some areas.

Speaking to the PA news agency, she said the group is facing “significant persistent pressures” on costs.

She said: “As far as we can, we’re trying to absorb the cost pressures… not all of these pressures are absorbable.

“The cost of living pressures are real – real for our partners and customers and we’re doing everything we can in our power to try to limit the impact.”

Results were also buoyed by the John Lewis Partnership slashing costs by £170m, closing a raft of stores and cutting jobs.

It remained in the red on a bottom-line basis, though losses narrowed sharply to £26 million from £517 million the previous year, when it posted its first annual loss after the pandemic battered outlets.

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