John Lewis will not pay employee bonus after £234m loss

John LewisRetailer John Lewis has announced that it will not be giving its employees a bonus for this year, after reporting a £234 million loss.

The bonus is its annual share-out of profits, and all staff receive it as a percentage of their salary. The 2021/22 bonus was worth 3% of employees’ pay.

Its unaudited results for the year ending 28 January 2023 reported that sales fell by 2% overall, and by 3% at Waitrose. Total partnership sales were down 2% to £12.25 billion, with Waitrose sales down 3% to £7.31 billion and John Lewis sales up 0.2% to £4.94 billion.

The employer’s loss before exceptional items and tax was £78 million, down from profit of £181 million last year, due to the economic backdrop and inflationary pressures, and its loss before tax was £234 million, down from a loss of £27 million last year, largely due to property write downs. As a result of the impact of inflation, £179 million was added to costs in the year.

Sharon White, chairman of John Lewis, said in a letter to staff: “I am sorry that the loss means we won’t be able to share a bonus this year or do as much as we would like on pay.

“We’ll continue to help with the cost of living in other ways: the financial assistance fund will stay at £800,000 (a doubling) and there is support for travel, childcare and living costs.”