John Lewis
A whopping 91,000 workers, known as partners at John Lewis, are set to receive the pay-outs Reuters

Tens of thousands of staff at retail giant the John Lewis Partnership are to be awarded eight weeks' worth of pay thanks to a £202.5m bonus pot.

The firm, which operates John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, said the bonuses would represent 15% of a worker's salary – down from 17% last year.

A whopping 91,000 workers, known as partners at John Lewis, are set to receive the pay-outs.

"The bonus reflects the balance of a strong trading year, but also the increased costs of pension provision," said Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership.

"The exceptional costs of £47m, relating to holiday pay premiums (announced in August), did not affect the bonus percentage."

The company, which grew its workforce by 7.4% over the year, revealed in its full-year results that revenue exceeded £9bn, with Waitrose brining in £5.75bn and John Lewis contributing £3.27bn

But it was not all good news as the firm's pension deficit increased by £181.3m over the period to a staggering £1bn – representing a 22.1% hike on last year.

"The pension is one of the most important benefits offered to Partners, but also accounts for the greatest single investment made each year by the Partnership," John Lewis told investors.

"We are undertaking a review of the pension scheme to ensure that it can remain fair to Partners and sustainable from a business perspective."

The company explained a draft proposal was published earlier this year to move to a defined benefit (final salary)/defined contribution hybrid scheme, where future pension risk is shared between staff and the partnership.

John Lewis said the proposal will be further developed over the course of 2014, with a decision expected to be agreed at the end of the year.