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09 March 2018, 05:31 | Lena Norman
John Lewis cuts staff bonus as profits plunge
Waitrose gross sales of £6.75bn were 1.8% ahead of last time, or 0.9% on a like-for-like basis, while John Lewis gross sales of £4.84bn were 2.2% up on past year, or 0.4% LFL.
"Partnership Bonus has been awarded at 5%".
It comes as the partnership - which owns the eponymous department store and upmarket supermarket Waitrose - posted a 77% plunge in bottom line pre-tax annual profits to £103.9m after one-off charges. Consumer demand was subdued and we made significant changes to operations across the Partnership which affected many partners.
Company chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said it had been a "challenging year".
Although sales were up in both Waitrose (+1.8%) and John Lewis (2.2%) stores, the company says that profits declined sharply 2017, largely due to lower gross margins in Waitrose, driven by weaker exchange rates and commitment to competitive pricing.
Lower profit margins at the Waitrose driven by the fall in the value of the pound cut pretax profits by almost 22%.
Waitrose achieved gross sales of £6.75 billion a year ago, up 1.8% compared to 2016, with like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, increasing by 0.9%.
Staff at John Lewis and Waitrose have been told how much they will be receiving in their annual bonus, the lowest sum in years.
John Lewis didn't provide margin figures but said margins were squeezed by its decision to not pass on cost inflation to its customers via price increases, and also by its investments in its customer experience.
John Lewis's poor end of year results reflect the hard times afflicting the United Kingdom retail sector, which is having to cope with weak consumer sentiment as well as currency swings following the UK's vote to leave the European Union.
Waitrose sales rose 1.8% to £6.75bn, up 1.8%, with sales at established stores, excluding fuel, up by 0.9%.
"This was why we chose to reduce the proportion of profits paid as Partnership Bonus past year so as to absorb these impacts while continuing to invest in the future and in strengthening our balance sheet".
The retailer also warned of further pressure on profits in the year ahead, the Telegraph reported, as well as "volatile" trading conditions, "continuing economic uncertainty" and intense competition.
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