JOHN Lewis and Waitrose staff are set for bonuses worth 15 per cent of their salaries today as the retail chains continue their strong trading.

John Lewis Partnership, which is owned by its 85,500 employees, will announce the bonus award alongside annual results, with the group expected to report a 7 per cent rise in underlying profits to £370m.

The bonus percentage is set to be down from 17 per cent a year earlier due to the increased cost of servicing the groups £840m pension fund deficit.

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Each worker - from weekend check-out assistants to chairman Charlie Mayfield - receives the same percentage of salary as a bonus.

The reported figure of 15 per cent is believed to amount to £200m in total and represent around 3,500 to the average full-time employee.

The department store and supermarket arms of the partnership have continued to trade well, with John Lewis's Christmas like-for-like sales up 6.9 per cent and Waitrose reporting a 3.1 per cent rise.

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb has highlighted concerns about the impact of intense supermarket competition on profit margins at Waitrose.

He said: "John Lewis Partnership should be reasonably optimistic about the outlook for the UK consumer and for profit and bonus growth in 2014/15."

The retailer's 10-year plan to eliminate the deficit included a one-off payment of £85m in January followed by further annual cash payments of £44m.

Isabella Miller, head of branch, John Lewis Newcastle said: “Despite a somewhat challenging retail environment we are pleased with our performance for 2013.

"We continued to invest in our branch by refurbishing our home floor giving it a fresh and contemporary look which has undoubtedly helped to drive sales in this area.

“Beauty also traded strongly throughout the year and tablet sales and our guarantees continued to drive trade in audio and TV. Eldon Square Shopping Centre also continues to benefit from on-going investment to provide an enhanced shopping experience for customers.

“I would like to thank all our partners who have continued to embrace change and strive to provide their customers with the shopping experience they have come to expect.”

Lesley Baldwin sales assistant, in the lingerie department of  John Lewis Newcastle has worked for the partnership for 21 years. This year, she is celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband Terry, so the couple have decided to throw a party to celebrate.

She said: “Terry is a keen golfer so we’re planning to invite 80 family and friends for an informal celebration at the Consett Golf Club.  I’ve got the menu planned already – a hog roast followed by profiteroles and strawberries. 

"I’m really looking forward to celebrating 25 years of marriage and glad that my bonus is allowing us to celebrate in style. The bonus scheme is a real perk of the job.”

Gerry Jones, 60, has worked for John Lewis for 34 years on children’s wear, lingerie and furnishing fabrics. She will be opening John Lewis Newcastle’s bonus envelope to celebrate her 60th birthday today. 

She is putting her bonus towards a two week trip to India with her husband Martyn at the end of March.

Mrs Jones said: “I’m a seasoned traveller, having visited China, Morocco and Istanbul over the years. I’m extremely excited about my first trip to India.  Martyn and I begin the holiday in Dehli, then travel to the Agra, followed by Jaipur and finish the trip in Shimla. I can’t wait to experience Indian Culture; I expect it will be a truly mind-blowing experience.

"It’s brilliant that the bonus scheme has enabled me to plan a trip like this and it’s always an amazing atmosphere in the shop on the day.”