• John Lewis staff all over the country celebrate



    EXCITEMENT was palpable as it was revealed that staff at Swindon’s John Lewis at Home would receive a 15 per cent bonus for their commitment and hard work yesterday.

    About 50 of the store’s 140 employees gathered at the store at Mannington Retail Park for the announcement of their bonus figure for 2014.

    The amount, which represents nearly eight weeks wages, was unveiled by selling assistant Sue Simmons to a shower of streamers and confetti and a storm of applause from her colleagues.

    The 47-year-old selling assistant in the electronics department, was selected to open the envelope containing the figure at 9.25am precisely after picking the winning party streamers out of scores handed out to staff to launch the festivities.

    “Opening the envelope was a bit nerve-wracking because you don’t know what to expect,” she said.

    “I think 15 per cent is a realistic amount. Anything is good regardless and we are lucky to have the bonus as it is. It is a reward for all the partners’ (staff) work. We are all proud to be working for this business.”

    She said: “My bonus is going to be partly used for a holiday and for a lot of special occasions happening this year. It is my son’s 21st birthday and my partner’s son’s 21st birthday and my best friend is getting married. “It was going to be an expensive year, with lots of presents to buy, so it’s welcome.”

    Last year staff were offered 17 per cent extra wages.

    John Lewis gross sales grew strongly throughout the financial year, increasing by 11 per cent to £240.5m.

    Deborah Joy, 26, a fellow selling assistant in the electrical section planned to spend the extra money on a trip to Nicaragua.

    “I really enjoy being in the shop this time of year as there is such a buzz among the team in anticipation of the bonus announcement.” she said. “This year I’m hoping to spend my bonus on a trip to Nicaragua with my partner to visit my best friend and her husband on their ranch. “I’m also going to donate some money to animal charities like ADI and PETA, as I love animals and these are causes I feel strongly about."

    Alison Gilbert, the branch manager, said: “We are pleased once again to have delivered a robust performance here at John Lewis at home Swindon and enter 2014 with strong trading momentum. “Having only been open three years, we continue to see our sales and reputation grow within the community. “Key highlights for us were the strength of our furniture trade and the growth in consumer technology.

    “It has been a great year for John Lewis at home Swindon and I would like to thank all our staff who are passionate about providing the highest standards of service and delighting our customers with a shopping experience that is second to none.”