John Lewis announces 17% staff bonus as profits rise

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Media captionThe 17% bonus was unveiled after a countdown in the store

Department store group John Lewis has announced a 17% bonus for staff after reporting a rise in profits.

The partnership, which includes Waitrose supermarkets, said it made pre-tax profits of £409m ($613m) last year - a rise of 15.8%.

John Lewis is owned by its employees, meaning some of the profits are paid as bonuses every year.

This year's bonus is up from the 14% paid out last year, with this year's bonus pool worth £210m.

Around 84,700 staff will receive the bonus, equivalent to about nine weeks' pay.

"This has been a good year for the partnership with growth in sales and profit above our expectations," said chairman Charlie Mayfield. "Both Waitrose and John Lewis gained market share for what is now the fourth consecutive year."

'Tough market'

He added that he was optimistic about the coming year.

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Media captionJohn Lewis Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield: ''We have been changing a lot of things in the partnership over a few years''

"Although the market remains subdued we see more stability in customer demand and further opportunities to grow market share," he said.

The partnership saw the biggest growth in its online businesses. Gross sales from grew by more than 40%, while online sales at Waitrose were up nearly 50%.

Online trade now accounts for about 25% of the company's sales.

John Lewis said it had traded strongly in a "tough market" last year, with consumer spending hit by the continuing economic crisis. Retail analysts suggest 2013 is likely to be another difficult year for retailers.

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