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John Lewis returns to profit but partners miss out on bonus again

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John Lewis has returned to profit for the first time in three years but staff face another year with no bonus.

The company behind Waitrose grocery shops and the John Lewis department stores recorded a profit of £56m, after a loss of £234m in the previous financial year.

The John Lewis Partnership is employee-owned by permanent staff, known as partners. Those partners typically get an annual bonus payment but were disappointed again this year.

This marks only the third time since 1953 that the group has not paid out an annual staff bonus.

But the firm said it was investing in its retail businesses and in staff base pay.

Pay could be increased by a record £116m this year, the company says.

The return to profit was largely driven through Waitrose, after a million more customers shopped with the partnership through the last year, totalling 22.6 million shoppers.

Waitrose profits grew by 19%, while at John Lewis profits were up by just 2%.

Similarly, at Waitrose sales were up 5% on the year before, while John Lewis department store sales dropped 4%.

The profit figures were due to selling more items, better margins and “sustainable productivity improvements”.

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