John Lewis staff set for bonus cut

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Staff at John Lewis and Waitrose will see their bonus cut for the first time in three years today as the employee-owned firm falls foul of the economic downturn.

John Lewis Partnership, which has more than 75,000 staff, is expected to announce a payout of between 12 per cent and 14 per cent of salary in its full-year results, compared with 18 per cent last year from a bonus pot of £194.5m.

Each worker - from the weekend check-out assistant to chairman Charlie Mayfield - receives the same percentage of salary as a bonus and will be informed of the windfall as the results are published at 9.30am.

The first reduction since 2009 comes as profits are squeezed by the firm’s “never knowingly undersold” policy, which sees it match rivals’ special offers, and Waitrose’s pledge to price-match Tesco on 1,000 everyday branded products.

One analyst has forecast pre-tax profits for the full year of £350m, which compares with £366m last year.

In September it announced half-year profits fell by almost a fifth to £90.4m after it was hurt by its price-matching pledges.

The parent company is expected to highlight market share gains for its grocery chain Waitrose, which has rolled out new stores and targeted more of the convenience sector.

John Lewis department stores were boosted by strong online growth in 2011, while it saw a strong Christmas helped by a highly acclaimed advertising campaign that featured a boy itching for Christmas Day to arrive so he could give gifts to his parents.