The Co-operative Group is to give its staff a £300 bonus this year, despite a fall in sales and profits.

Its Employee Member Dividend payment has been agreed at £300 for full-time qualifying members. Group profits fell 5.8% to £373m in the year to 31 December, on sales down 1% at £13.3bn.

In a letter to staff, CEO Peter Marks said: “Last year we faced extremely difficult trading conditions. Our co-operative model means we can take a long-term view of the future and be as driven, determined and ambitious as ever to modernise our business.”

Staff welcomed the bonus: “Everybody in my store will be over the moon we’re getting a bonus,” wrote one member of staff on Facebook.