The John Lewis Partnership confirmed that staff members will not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953 after the group was hit by lockdown store closures.
Dame Sharon White, chairwoman of the retail group, told partners on Thursday that the announcement “will come as a blow”.
The group said it posted a £55 million loss for the six months to July 25 after higher costs offset an increase in revenues.
Yesterday the group said it was closing four branches of Waitrose and losing more than 250 jobs.
Plans to permanently close eight branches of John Lewis have already put 1,300 jobs at risk.
Dame Sharon said: “The pandemic has brought forward changes in consumer shopping habits which might have taken five years into five months.
“Both brands entered the crisis with strong and established online businesses and in the case of Waitrose, plans for expansion well under way in preparation for the end of the relationship with Ocado.
“Our digital businesses have been key to underpinning our first half performance.”