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Joy as John Lewis staff get 17% bonus after surge in profits
5:00am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
PARTNERS at John Lewis at Home in Poole celebrated news of a 17 per cent bonus following the company's annual results, announced this morning.
Despite gloomy times in the retail trade, with several well-known chains going to the wall in recent months, John Lewis has managed to reward staff with a profit share equal to an average of nearly nine weeks' pay.
In the lead-up to the announcement, partners at Branksome gathered for buck's fizz and bacon rolls and played bingo. The winner, Stuart McAllister, was given the honour of opening the envelope containing the much-anticipated figure.
The Branksome store - the first of its kind when it opened three years ago - has performed particularly well, as manager Robert Garnish explained. “In terms of year of year, like for like, we were the best-performing store in the UK, with a sales increase of 19 per cent,” he said.
“It was a really excellent year right across our market. We saw growth in electrical and fashion. The electrical growth was driven by sales of new and innovative products and in the early part of the year we got a real hit from the digital switchover.
“I think there has also been a strengthening of trust in our reputation. We have invested a lot of money in our 'never knowingly undersold' promise and customers are deciding that if they come to us they get the best possible price on the High Street.
He added: “I think what we have proved in terms of succeeding in the current climate is that we have got to focus on what we want to build our reputation on, and that, for us, is service, honesty and trust.”
There are no plans to stock fashion in Poole but customers can buy anything from the company's website and collect it from the Branksome store, an increasingly popular way to shop.
“Although online is fundamental, people still want to come into our shops where we can showcase products like bed linen and furniture and they can see how a ceiling light looks in the flesh. We still get a fantastic footfall in here and we see a complete cross-section of people,” said Mr Garnish.
“We have the benefit of being on a major route and draw people in from Blandford and north to Salisbury and towards the edge of Southampton.”
For one partner, Jackie Hill, there was a double celebration as she had become a grandmother for the first time the previous evening. She will be spending some of her bonus on new arrival Henry.
Alex Lanney, 18, plans to use some of his on a charity skydive and put the rest towards a holiday in Italy with his girlfriend Sam, who also works at the store, while Clayton Zata will be treating his children to a trip to Disneyland.
Lisa Clarke, from branch administration, also has travel plans. “Bonus day is eagerly anticipated by everyone. There is a real buzz in the weeks leading up to the announcement, and a great atmosphere on the day and this year has been no different,” she said.