THE annual bonus that is paid to John Lewis staff is currently under threat, as the firm battles ‘challenging’ trading conditions.
In a Christmas trading update, the department store chain, which includes Knight and Lee in Southsea, saw like-for-like sales rise by one per cent in the seven weeks to January 5.
But chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield says that full year profits could be ‘substantially’ lower this year, potentially putting the staff bonus on the chopping block.
Sir Mayfield said: ‘Two main factors are affecting the retail sector – oversupply of physical space and relatively weak consumer demand.
‘We continue to expect full-year total partnership profits to be substantially lower this year, driven by slower sales growth over the year and margin pressure in John Lewis and Partners along with higher costs, mainly as a result of our continued investment in our IT capability.
‘The board will need to consider carefully in March, following the usual process, whether payment of a bonus is prudent in the light of business and economic prospects at that time.’