The John Lewis Partnership has revealed that losses of £55 million through the first half of 2020 have caused it to rule out the possibility of partner bonuses next March – the first time this has happened since 1953.

This comes via the partnership’s half-yearly results, published today, which attempted to shrug off the £55 million loss, calling it “about the same as this time last year”.

It also deemed this “a creditable performance in the circumstances and ahead of expectations in our April trading update”, revealing that sales are actually up 1% on last year.


Unsurprisingly, overall performance was propped up by online sales, which grew by 73% compared to last year.

In regards to the omission of a bonus in the coming year, the statement assured partners: “The decision in no way detracts from the commitment and dedication that you have shown.”

It continued: “Outside of exceptional circumstances, we would now expect to begin paying a bonus again once our profits exceed £150m and our debt ratio falls below 4 times. Once our profits rise above £300m and a debt ratio below 3 times, we would expect to pay a bonus of at least 10%.

“The Partnership found itself in a similar position in 1948 when the bonus was halted following the Second World War. We came through then to be even stronger than before and we will do so again.”

This comes after a number of store closures for the retailer in recent months. Read more below:

John Lewis shutters eight stores as virus accelerates its move towards online