John Lewis hailed the success of its new flagship store in Leeds and said it has created a day out experience for shoppers across Yorkshire.
The upbeat assessment followed the news that the firm has cut its staff bonus for a fifth consecutive year.
John Lewis and Waitrose staff will see bonuses cut to six per cent of their annual salary after the John Lewis Partnership warned of an “increasingly uncertain market” this year.
One bright spot is the new Leeds store, which has created 500 jobs in the area.
John Lewis‘ new managing director Paula Nickolds told the YEP: “Leeds is our most experience led store.
“This year we will open a roof top restaurant that will take advantage of the fantastic views of Leeds and make the most of the city’s night life.
“Our Leeds store is all about creating a destination - a day out experience. That’s what department stores were all about. I’m delighted with all the elements of the Leeds store.”
John Lewis Leeds is the retailer’s third store in Yorkshire. Representing a £37m investment in Leeds, the 255,000 sq ft site anchors Hammerson’s Victoria Gate development. The shop features more than 350,000 products across fashion, home and technology.
The store is the retailer’s most service-led shop, offering more than 30 services, such as a beauty spa, a foreign exchange and home design service.
Ms Nickolds said the news of the staff bonus received “cautious applause” from staff - known as partners - who were told in January that their bonus would be “significantly lower” than last year in the face of a challenging market outlook. This has been partly linked to the collapse in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote.
The cut will see 86,700 staff across the John Lewis Partnership share a £89.4m bonus pot, down from £145m last year.
The percentage payout is the lowest since 1954 when 4 per cent was paid.