John Lewis pays out £194.5m bonus pot and offer access to retail bonds

Staff at John Lewis and Waitrose will split a £194.5 million bonus pot in cash, which is equivalent to 18% of pay or the equivalent of more than nine weeks’ pay.

The payout comes as parent company John Lewis Partnership (JLP) announced profits on Wednesday 8 March.

JLP is also offering its staff the opportunity to invest in a retail bond issued by the partnership. The five-year savings bond is available to qualifying members with a lump sum of between £1,000 and £10,000 without having to go through a broker.

It has a fixed annual return of 4.5% in cash, with a further 2% paid in John Lewis Partnership gift vouchers. At the end of five years, the John Lewis Partnership will return all the money invested in full.

The offer is limited and available on a first-come first-served basis. Applications must be received between 7 March and 11 April 2011. The issue will be closed when the total bond applications reach £50 million.

The triennial actuarial valuation of JLP’s main non-contributory defined benefit (DB) final salary scheme as of 31 March 2010 concluded with a surplus of £83 million, with an estimated growth to £105 million at the end of this financial year. The total accounting pension deficit at January 2011 decreased by £490.6 million to £414 million.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: “The profits we make go to partners and to improving the business for the future. I am delighted that we have announced partners will receive a bonus of 18%, an average of more than 9 weeks’ pay.

“In addition, we have paid £267 million into our pension fund in the last year. We continue to offer a non-contributory final salary pension to partners with more than three years’ service and our main pension fund has moved into surplus on a funding basis.”

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