John Lewis and Waitrose owner to cut 1,000 jobs in stores

John Lewis Partnership simplifying store management structures to reduce costs by £300m a year

Last modified on Wed 14 Jul 2021 09.15 EDT

The owner of John Lewis and Waitrose is planning to cut 1,000 jobs in stores as part of an effort to cut costs.

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) said it would aim to find new jobs for those losing their store management roles and would aim to reduce compulsory job cuts by offering voluntary redundancy to those affected.

The group said it was simplifying its store management structures under a plan to reduce costs by £300m a year by 2022.

JLP vowed to reduce costs after reporting its first full-year loss in March and ditching its annual staff bonus for the first time in 67 years.

A JLP spokesperson said: “We have announced to our [staff] our intention to simplify our management structures in Waitrose and John Lewis stores, which will allow us to reinvest in what matters most to our customers.”

The job cuts, first reported in the trade journal Retail Week, come after a tough few years for the staff-owned group, which employs more than 80,000 people. It has closed 16 John Lewis stores, including major outlets in York, Peterborough, Sheffield and Aberdeen, with the loss of more than 2,500 jobs.

JLP announced it was cutting a further 1,500 head office jobs in November last year. It has also axed one in three senior head office management posts – 75 out of 225 – as part of a reorganisation announced in 2019.

John Lewis and other department stores have been hit particularly hard by changing shopping habits as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced non-food retailers to close their doors for many months.

The switch to online shopping, increased competition and the heavy costs including business rates associated with large premises have led to the demise of several rival department store chains.

Debenhams now trades only online, while Beales has closed all but a handful of stores. House of Fraser has cut back its store numbers by about a quarter.

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