LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - British retailer the John Lewis Partnership cut its annual staff bonus for a fifth consecutive year on Thursday as 2016-17 trading profit at both its department stores and Waitrose supermarket chain fell, it said on Thursday.
The employee-owned group said its staff, known as partners, would receive a bonus of 6 percent, equivalent to over three weeks pay, down from 10 percent last year. It totals 89.4 million pounds ($108.6 million).
The percentage payout was the lowest since 1954 when 4 percent was paid.
John Lewis had cautioned in January that the bonus was likely to be "significantly lower" this year due to the need to invest heavily in its online business as well as import cost pressures from a weaker pound since last June's Brexit vote.
The group said profit before the partnership bonus, tax and exceptional items increased 21.2 percent to 370.4 million pounds. However, a large part of this profit increase was due to lower pension accounting charges.
There were also a number of exceptional items in the results. After including these exceptional items, the operating profit in both Waitrose and John Lewis department stores was below last year.
Last month the department stores business said it would cut hundreds of jobs in a reorganisation of its soft furnishings business and changes to the way it operates its in-store restaurants. ($1 = 0.8233 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey)