MORE than 90,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff are celebrating bonuses worth 15 per cent of salary, although the figure is lower than last year’s 17 per cent because of the increased cost of servicing the group’s £1 billion pension fund deficit.
After reporting a 9.6 per cent rise in annual profits, the group said staff would receive the equivalent of almost eight weeks’ pay from a bonus pot of £202.5 million. Each worker – from weekend check-out assistants to chairman Charlie Mayfield – receives the same percentage of salary as a bonus.
Details of the windfall came with annual results revealing pre-tax, pre-bonus profits of £376.4m, which were boosted by a successful Christmas.
Bottom-line profits were 4.1 per cent lower at £329.1m after the group had to pay £47.3m to about 69,000 staff last summer over miscalculated holiday pay dating back to 2006, leaving some workers entitled to thousands of pounds in compensation.
Its results also revealed the escalating cost of its workers’ pensions. The group has agreed a ten-year plan to plug the scheme’s growing deficit that included a one-off payment of £85m in January.
It plans to switch from a final salary pension scheme, which is one of the most generous in Britain, to a hybrid defined benefit and defined contribution scheme.