Bonuses for 84,000 staff at retailers John Lewis and Waitrose have been cut for the fifth year in a row. They will receive a 5% bonus, down from last year’s 6%, the lowest since 4% in 1954.

Partnership chairman for John Lewis Sir Charlie Mayfield stated that 2017 had been a ‘challenging year’, with ‘subdued consumer demand’. It would seem people’s need for expensive light fixtures or tops you could get in Primark have been dipping.

He put the blame on the pound sterling, saying its weakness leads to higher costs and put pressure on the business’s profit margin.

‘This was why we chose to reduce the proportion of profits paid as partnership bonus last year to absorb these impacts while continuing to invest in the future and in strengthening our balance sheet.’

They aren’t the only company struggling to attract customers, however. Toys R Us and Maplin are both in dire need of support, with Toys R Us desperately trying to sell shares, with over 800 jobs at risk. ‘Warehouse-style’ stores were said to be the main cause of money loss for the business.

Not to mention the lacklustre selection of toys in most of their stores.

Sir Mayfield said the firm had retained a committed attitude, to raising pay-rates for non-management staff and that the average wage was £8.91 hourly.

Could it be that physical stores just can’t compete with online transactions? That the speed and easiness of placing an order on Amazon or eBay could finally be overshadowing the need for stocked shelves and helpful staff.