Asda staff check out with £27m bonus as sales rise

Asda's shopfloor and depot workers are set to share a £26.9m bonus pot. Who do they think they are, bankers?

by Dave Waller
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
Colleagues at Asda stores and depots up and down the UK will be getting the drinks in this Friday: they're set to get their annual bonus payout, for the tenth successive year. Seems it's a good time to be in the old shelf-stacking game: anyone who's been there six months or more could be in for up to £350. OK, it's not quite an invitation to crack open the vintage Krug with the City boys and head down to Spearmint Rhino to party the night away. But, to coin a phrase from an Asda rival, every little helps.

Better still, 20,000 colleagues working at stores that beat their annual targets could be in for £437 each. The company's dubbing that the 'superbonus' - although given that Bob Diamond looks set for a £9m payout, that may be rather a misnomer. And we can't imagine it arousing quite as much ire as City pay-outs tend to: here the 'colleagues' are being rewarded for schemes like 'Go Getters for Forgetters' - who we're told clocked up 22m steps fetching items for shoppers during the festive period.

All of which is possible because Asda saw sales climb 1.6% in the fourth quarter of last year; apparently this is largely due to the relaunch of its price guarantee, where it pledges to sell groceries at least 10% cheaper than its rivals. Some 800,000 customers have taken up the scheme since the start of 2011. Parent company Walmart will be happy, too - it recorded a 14% leap in full-year profits, with net income soaring to a frankly ridiculous $16.4bn.

It's certainly good to see big UK companies in a position to reward their staff for their extra effort, rather than freezing pay or laying people off. And in the 12 years since the scheme was introduced at Asda, the total amount paid to colleagues across the chain has now reached almost £200m. Which is not to be sniffed at. Then again, some of their other retail colleagues are even more fortunate: over at John Lewis, its 70,000 staff shared a pot of £151m last year alone (and they get to be called 'partners', not 'colleagues', which sounds way better).

Either way, they should enjoy it while they can. With inflation soaring and punters possibly less willing to flash the cash in the coming months, there's presumably a good chance that retailers won't be as generous this time next year...

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