John Lewis staff miss out on bonus as retailer slides to £78m loss
Bosses said the business will now increase cost-cutting efforts to complete a turnaround of the group’s financial performance.
The group, which runs the department store chain and Waitrose supermarket arm, recorded a £78m loss before exceptional items for the year to January 28.
It represented a slump from a £181m profit in the previous year, with John Lewis blaming “inflationary pressures”.
Chairwoman Dame Sharon White apologised to staff that they would not receive a bonus payment following a “tough set of results”.
In a letter to staff, Ms White said: “You’ve been exceptional in what has been another very tough year. Two years of pandemic and now a cost-of-living crisis.
“Inflation has had a big impact on the partnership and sent our costs soaring – up almost £180m on last year.
“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.”
On Thursday, the retail group said it fell to the loss after customers bought less, with sales declining by 2 per cent to £12.25bn for the year.
Waitrose sales declined by 3 per cent to £7.3bn, while John Lewis recorded 0.2 per cent growth to £4.94bn.
Earlier this week, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) revealed it had appointed Nish Kankiwala as its first chief executive. The former Hovis boss will take on the newly created role, to support chairwoman Ms White with the day-to-day running of the retail giant.
Mr Kankiwala will take up the role on March 27, having joined the group, as a non-executive director in April 2021.
The leadership shake-up will see executive directors of John Lewis and Waitrose report to the new chief, who will then report to Ms White.
JLP parted ways with previous John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks last month.
The changes come as the group continues an ambitious transformation plan which has seen JLP expand into new areas such as rental properties and shut a number of department stores.
Dame Sharon White said earlier this week: “Nish and I will work closely to ensure the partnership thrives for another century. The new structure allows me to focus on the preservation of the partnership model and our distinctive character, on the strategy for the partnership and our big commercial choices. Nish will draw on his significant transformation experience to drive performance and profitability day to day.”