British retailer, the John Lewis Partnership, today posted a 9.6% rise in underlying year profit, though it cut its staff bonus payout to 15% of salary.
The employee-owned group runs Britain's biggest department store chain as well as upmarket grocer Waitrose.
Its chairman Charlie Mayfield said that although there were more encouraging signs for the UK economy as a whole, they had not yet resulted in a significant increase in consumer spending.
"I am cautiously optimistic that we will see improvements this year," he said, adding that John Lewis and Waitrose were well placed to continue to grow market share.
The group made profit before tax, a staff bonus pool of £202.5m and one-off items of £376.4m in the year to January 25, on gross sales of £10.2 billion, up 6.6%.
John Lewis said its 91,000 staff, known as partners, will be paid a bonus of 15% of salary, equal to nearly eight weeks pay, down from 17% last year.
The 150-year-old group has consistently bucked retail gloom, winning market share over the last five years.
Its generally more affluent customers were less impacted by the economic downturn and it has a bias to the more prosperous south east of England. A big push online, improvements to stores, products, service, promotions and marketing, have also chimed with shoppers.
John Lewis ended the year with net debt of £485.8m, up 30.6%, and a pension deficit of just over £1 billion, up 22%.