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Ipswich: John Lewis at home and Waitrose staff at Futura Park celebrate bonus worth 15% of salary

PUBLISHED: 11:59 06 March 2014 | UPDATED: 23:07 06 March 2014

Waitrose and John Lewis of home staff  in Ipswich celebrate the partnership's annual bonus announcement.

Waitrose and John Lewis of home staff in Ipswich celebrate the partnership's annual bonus announcement.

Colleagues at the John Lewis at home and Waitrose stores in Ipswich today celebrated news that they are to receive an annual bonus worth 15% of salary.

More than 90,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff across the country will share in the payout after the employee-owned group announced a 9.6% increase in annual profits.

Each worker, from weekend check-out assistants to chairman Charlie Mayfield, will receives the same percentage of salary as a bonus, with staff at the Waitrose stores in Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Ipswich town centre, Newmarket, Saffron Walden, Saxmundham and Sudbury also to share in the payout.

In total, the bonus pot is worth £202.5million and means that staff will each receive a sum equivalent to nearly eight weeks’ pay.

The payout is lower than last year’s windfall, which was worth 17% of salary, due to the increased cost of servicing the group’s mammoth £1billion pension fund deficit.

Details of the bonus came as the annual results for the John Lewis Partnership revealed pre-tax, pre-bonus profits of £376.4m for the 52 weeks to January 25, boosted by a successful Christmas for the department store chain and Waitrose supermarket business.

Gross sales across the partnership topped £10bn, with the total at Waitrose climbing by 6.0% to £6.112bn and at John Lewis by 7.5% to £4.060bn, with like-for-like growth of 5.1% and 6.4% respectively stripping out the impact of new store openings.

Staff from the twin John Lewis at home and Waitrose stores at Futura Park in Ipswich, which opened in 2012, gathered to hear the bonus announcement, which was made by Matt Last from the John Lewis furniture department and Luke Mewett from the operations team at Waitrose, both of whom have worked at the stores since day one.

They were selected for the task at random by the distribution of sweets to suck, two of which were secretly coloured to give the recipients a blue tongue.

Anna Moir, manager of the John Lewis at home store in Ipswich, said: “This is one of the most exciting days of the year for us.

“There is a great sense of anticipation because this is a genuine share in the profits of the business, the more so this time because this has been the first full year of trading in Ipswich.”

Waitrose manager Paul Reeley added: “Both businesses in Ipswich have performed well ahead of expectations over the past year, and beaten their budgets by a considerable margin.”

And Anna continued: “We anticipate our businesses will continue to grow this year as we establish ourselves in Suffolk.”

Beth Thompson, 20, a selling assistant at John Lewis at home Ipswich, said: “This is my first full year bonus at John Lewis at home Ipswich. The bonus announcement is a real highlight for all the partners here and it’s a nice chance to all get together and celebrate our shared achievements.”

“I’m absolutely obsessed with fashion and I’ve wanted to visit New York for as long as I can remember, so my Mum is taking me as a treat for my 21st birthday, which is in June. I’ll be spending bonus money on a shopping trip while we’re out there and whatever’s left will go towards a sewing machine.”

Jen Lee, 26, large electrical and cook shop section manager at John Lewis at home, who has been with the John Lewis Partnership for seven years and has worked in various shops since settling in Ipswich, said: “I still remember the buzz of my first bonus announcement and the feeling hasn’t gone away in all my years with the partnership.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the success of the business with all my colleagues. I always try to do something special with my bonus and as I’m getting married next year I’ll be putting this year’s bonus away to help pay for the wedding.”

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “This has been another good year for the partnership. Both Waitrose and John Lewis increased market share for the fifth consecutive year, profit before exceptionals has grown by almost 10% and, for the first time, we have achieved sales of over £10bn.

“As a result of our performance, I am delighted that 91,000 partners will receive a bonus of 15%, equivalent to nearly 8 weeks’ pay. The bonus reflects the balance of a strong trading year, but also the increased costs of pension provision.”

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