Mar 7, 2019

John Lewis to pay staff 3 per cent bonus even amid uncertainty

John Lewis, the employee-owned retailer whose department stores and supermarkets serve swaths of middle-class Britain, said on Thursday it will pay staff a bonus of 3 per cent even after the group had hinted it would be unable to pay one at all. The group had warned in January that it would "Need to consider carefully" whether to pay a bonus given uncertain business and economic prospects. Bonuses had already declined sharply, from a recent peak of 18 per cent of salary in 2011 to just 5 per cent last year. Mid-market rival Debenhams issued three profit warnings and suffered a 90 per cent collapse in its share price. John Lewis is hamstrung by its "Never knowingly undersold" price-matching guarantee, which obliges it to match the discounts being offered by increasingly desperate competitors.

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