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Gloucestershire Business News

John Lewis halts bonus as it reports huge loss

John Lewis' chairwoman has vowed the company will return stronger after confirming it will not pay staff a bonus for the first time in almost 70 years.

The retailer, which has a branch in Cheltenham and also owns Waitrose, took the decision after reporting a pre-tax loss of £635million for the six months to the end of July.

Excluding one-off costs, including a £470million write-down in the value of its stores, the losses stood at £55million.

John Lewis staff, who are classed as partners, have received a bonus every year since 1954.

Chairwoman Dame Sharon White said: "We came through then to be even stronger and we will do so again.

"I know this will come as a blow to partners who have worked so hard this year."

She said bonuses would resume once annual profits have risen above £150million and debt falls.

While Waitrose has seen sales rise 10 per cent on last year, John Lewis saw a £200million drop as lockdown shut branches and hit trade in more profitable items.

Online sales at John Lewis were up 73 per cent across the six months, rising from 40 per cent to 60 per cent of overall sales through the pandemic with Waitrose delivering 170,000 food orders a week, up from 60,000.

The group also had coronavirus-related costs around £50million.

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