Staff at retailer Waitrose will receive a bonus worth 15 per cent of their annual pay, the John Lewis Partnership has announced.
It means around 91,000 people will share in a pot of over £202 million, after the year ending January 25th 2014 brought a 5.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales and a 6.1 per cent increase in operating profits to £310 million, while gross sales hit £10 billion for the first time.
Chairman of the partnership Charlie Mayfield said he was "delighted" the bonuses - worth two months of salary - would be paid and said the ownership of the business by partners has helped it grow, as they have had a clear understanding of how to adjust to changes in the retail environment.
He remarked: "Innovation in product and service continues to be vital in today's market and there have been great examples of that in Waitrose and John Lewis. We have improved our omni-channel offer significantly with new online platforms for both brands and expansion of the hugely popular Click & Collect service."
Mr Mayfield added: "We have also introduced greater personalisation to the relationship with customers, particularly with myWaitrose."
The partnership has pointed to the myWaitrose card as an innovation that has bolstered customer relationships, while online sales have provided another source of significant growth.
He also said he is "cautiously optimistic" that the positive early signs in the current year - with the partnership's gross sales in the first five weeks up 5.3 per cent on the same period in 2013 - to get even better as the year progresses and the economic recovery continues, as this will help bolster consumer spending.
Mr Mayfield added that he has high hopes that market share will increase at the partnership whatever the rate of growth in the wider economy.
Over the course of the year to January 2014, Waitrose opened 13 new branches, of which five were Little Waitrose outlets. The partnership as a whole added 6,300 new jobs, which amounts to a 7.4 per cent increase in the number of partners.