Profit before partnership bonus, tax and exceptional items was also down 21.9% to £289.2m, largely due to lower gross margins in Waitrose driven by the weaker exchange rate and commitment to competitive pricing.
Workers will get a 5 per cent bonus, down from 6 per cent previous year - and the lowest since 1954 when it was 4 per cent.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday for the full-year results of the John Lewis Partnership, the parent company of the department store chain, Nickolds said staff - who are all partners in the business - will be able to personalise and share marketing content through their own accounts.
John Lewis Partnership today said that while revenues climbed by 1.8 per cent to £10.2bn, the pre-tax profits had fallen 77 per cent to £103.9m in the year to the end of January.
"We expect trading to be volatile in 2018/19, with continuing economic uncertainty and no let-up in competitive intensity", Sir Charlie said.
Company chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said it had been a "challenging year".
"Consumer demand was subdued, and we made significant changes to operations across the Partnership which affected many Partners".
For example, John Lewis launched its first experiential store in Oxford at the end of past year, and said it would roll out more of these this spring.
The partnership has John Lewis stores at Norwich and Ipswich as well as Waitrose sites at Swaffham, North Walsham, Wymondham, Norwich, Saxmundham, Sudbury, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket. We therefore anticipate further pressure on profits".
Earnings were hit by a squeeze on profit margins at Waitrose thanks to the Brexit-linked weakness of the pound - pushing up costs at the same time as the supermarket was trying to keep a lid on prices. Waitrose gross sales of £6.75bn were 1.8% ahead of last time, or 0.9% on a like-for-like basis, while John Lewis gross sales of £4.84bn were 2.2% up on past year, or 0.4% LFL.
At John Lewis gross sales were up 2.2 per cent to £4.84bn, with like-for-like sales growth of 0.4 per cent.
"We did both and I am pleased to say that despite lower profits, strong cash flow has enabled us to reduce our total net debts".
Waitrose said the profit fall was down to a decision "not to pass on all cost price inflation" to customers and investments in "customer experience".