Ipswich: Futura Park John Lewis/Waitrose staff eagerly await bonus announcement

Waitrose Manager Paul Reeley and John Lewis at Home Manager Anna Moir outside of the Ipswich stores.

Waitrose Manager Paul Reeley and John Lewis at Home Manager Anna Moir outside of the Ipswich stores. - Credit: Archant

STAFF at the new John Lewis Partnership stores in Ipswich are set to learn tomorrow whether they are in line for their first bonus.

The John Lewis and Waitrose stores at Futura Park, Nacton, opened in November, and employ around 350 staff in total.

Staff are ‘partners’ in the business, meaning that every year, they are in line for a bonus when the full-year results are announced, depending on the chain stores’ national performance.

Last year, staff nationwide received bonuses worth 14% of their salary - the equivalent of more than seven weeks’ pay.

“John Lewis Partnership’s unique co-owned business model means that each year in March the profits are distributed to its employees rather than shareholders in the form of the Partnership bonus,” the company said.

“This means that every partner at John Lewis and Waitrose receives a bonus which is calculated as a percentage of their pay.”

Paul Reeley, branch manager at the Waitrose store at Nacton, explained that it was a closely-guarded secret, and even managers were unaware of what the bonus would be until the envelope containing the figure is opened at a ceremony tomorrow morning at the stores’ foyer. Many staff are expected to attend.

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Anna Moir branch manager at the John Lewis store, said for staff receiving their first bonus it would be “a real milestone”.

“It’s only now they are getting a true sense of how great it is to be a partner,” she said. “It’s very unique, this ownership model.”

John Lewis Partnership staff are expected to see bonuses edge up this year, buoyed by a “bumper” Christmas and surging online sales.

Analysts are predicting a 17% hike in profits at the partnership to £415million, with staff poised to see a “small increase” on last year’s 14% of salary payout. Each worker receives the same percentage of salary as a bonus.

The group reported a 60% surge in first half profits to £145m at its half year, but warned in September that profit growth would be much slower in the second half.

One expert has predicted operating profits at Waitrose would be up 14% to £298m and suggested the partnership’s department stores should bounce by 33% to £211m.

The figures come just days after the group announced it will invest more than £50m in its stores this year as part of its commitment to “bricks and mortar” retailing.