07/03/2012 05:25 GMT

John Lewis And Waitrose Staff See Bonuses Slashed

John Lewis and Waitrose staff saw their bonuses slashed for the first time in three years today as the employee-owned group proved it was not immune to the tough economic climate.

John Lewis Partnership, which has more than 75,000 staff, unveiled a payout of 14% of salary from a bonus pot of £165.2m, compared with 18% last year from a bonus pot of £194.5m.

Each worker - from weekend check-out assistants to chairman Charlie Mayfield - receives the same percentage of salary as a bonus.

The lower bonus came as the group recorded a 4% decrease in pre-tax, pre-bonus profits to £353.8m after efforts to bring in more customers through its price-matching campaigns hit earnings.

In a statement Mayfield said the company had "upped the pace": "'We have achieved a good sales performance in a tough year for the economy. Profits are lower than last year, but better than expected and I'm delighted to announce that all 81,000 Partners will be receiving a bonus equivalent to over 7 weeks' pay.

"Profound changes are taking place in the retail sector and importantly this was a year when we upped the pace of innovation and investment. That came at the price of some short-term profit but leaves us in a good place at the start of this year."