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£151m bonus for John Lewis staff

News comes as company announces rise in annual pre-tax profits

John Lewis has announced that its annual pre-tax profits have risen by 9.7 per cent to £306.6m. Each of its 70,000 "partners" - John Lewis's preferred term for its staff - will now receive a share of a £151m bonus.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis, said that the business had emerged from the recession in a "stronger competitive position".

However, the company's annual statement sounded a cautious note: "We anticipate more challenging trading in 2010, particularly in the second half of the year."

The statement continued: "The likely withdrawal of monetary stimulus, higher taxes, the possibility of increased interest rates and the implications of public spending cuts make for an uncertain outlook which is likely to impact on consumer confidence."

John Lewis is the owner of the UK's fastest-growing grocery chain, Waitrose. The supermarket's operating profits rose to £268.2m in the year to 30 January (an increase of 27 per cent), while those at the company's John Lewis department stores rose by 15 per cent to £165.9m.