Lush reportedly paid managers almost as much as it claimed in business rates relief in bonuses, despite recording a drop in profits. 

The retailer is said to have paid managers £5m in bonuses in the same period it claimed £5.1m in state support, while profits dropped 90%. 

According to a report by The Guardian, the bonuses were paid on top of salaries in 2022 to co-founders Mark and Mo Constantine and six staff at Lush Cosmetics – the brand’s main operating company that runs its shops and its manufacturing site in Poole. 

Last year, standard Lush employees received £1.8m in bonuses. The retailer said staff members, not including the directors and management, received an additional £14m in bonuses last year

Sales at the cosmetics business rose 5% to almost £431m in the year to June 30, 2022, despite the closure of 33 stores, but like-for-like pre-tax profits slumped to £1.7m, from £29m the previous year.

Sales in the UK were more than 10% down on 2019, the last year before the pandemic, but are expected to rise by at least 5% this year.

Lush remains in a row with its former boss, Andrew Gerrie, over his attempts to sell his shares. 

Gerrie was chief executive at Lush for 20 years before leaving in 2015 and he says his stake in Lush is now held via an investment firm that he co-owns, called Silverwood Brands.

Had Lush decided to distribute its profits via a dividend rather than a bonus, it would have had to pay a share of them to Gerrie or Silverwood and as he is not a staff member, Gerrie did not receive a share of the 2022 bonus it paid out. 

Gerrie first said he would like to sell his shares several years ago but Lush has fought Gerrie’s attempts to sell and last week it emerged that the company had launched a new action in the high court in an attempt to prove that the transfer of the shares to Silverwood Brands did not comply with Lush’s company rules.