* Employee-owned group's staff bonus will be "significantly
* Says will invest more in online, sees pressure from lower
* Underlying Christmas sales at department stores up 2.7 pct
(Adds details on staff bonus)
LONDON, Jan 12 John Lewis, Britain biggest
department store group, said it needed to invest heavily in its
online business this year after 40 percent of total sales came
from the internet over Christmas, showing the speed of change
ripping through the retail industry.
Britons have embraced online shopping in recent years, with
consumers able to buy online and pick up goods in stores or at
outlets such as petrol stations, railway stations or post
The planned investment and the impact of a weaker pound
since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June would
put pressure on profit.
As a result of those influences, the cherished bonus paid
annually to staff was likely to be "significantly lower" this
year, said Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the employee-owned John
Some 91,500 John Lewis employees, known as partners, last
year received a bonus of 10 percent, equivalent to more than
five weeks' pay. The size of the bonus is announced along with
full-year results in March.
"Although we expect to report profits up on last year,
trading profit is under pressure," said Mayfield, chairman of a
group which also runs the up-market Waitrose supermarket chain.
"This reflects the greater changes taking place across the
retail sector. We expect those to quicken, especially in the
next 12 months."
Trading updates from retailers released this week showed
those firms with the best online operations performed strongly.
Online-only fashion retailer ASOS said on Thursday
it would also accelerate the pace of its infrastructure
investment as it expects sales to rise by nearly a third this
year following bumper demand over the Christmas period.
John Lewis has been among those leading the way in online
sales in recent years but it said on Thursday that it now needed
to rebuild to prepare the business for even faster change.
It did not say how much it would spend on the programme.
The group's department store business posted underlying
sales up 2.7 over the six weeks to December 31, with online
sales up 11.8 percent and shop sales up 0.8 percent. Waitrose
like-for-like sales rose 2.8 percent.
(Reporting by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle; editing by Estelle