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Business

Published on November 4th, 2020 | by The GC Team

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John Lewis to cut 1,500 jobs

John Lewis today announced the loss of up to 1,500 jobs in its Head Office operations as part of a plan to make £300 million in annual savings by 2022.

The move follows the loss of 1,300 jobs at eight stores, including the flagship regional store in Birmingham, which closed after the first coronavirus lockdown but were already financially challenged prior to the pandemic.

The 1,500 head office roles will go between now and April 2021 and will save another £50 million on top of £50 million in recent efficiencies.

The move is the next phase of a five-year plan, the first two of which focus on strengthening the John Lewis and Waitrose businesses, backed by £1bn investments in customer service and experience in-store and online.

The aim is to return the Partnership to sustainable profits by 2025. The business reported a pre-tax loss £635 million for the first half of the year and confirmed that staff will not receive an annual bonus due to a poor profit outlook.  

The retailer said it will seek to find new roles in the Partnership for those whose roles become redundant in this latest round of job cuts, and where this isn’t possible it will provide market-leading redundancy support and funds for retraining. This includes up to £3,000 towards a recognised qualification or course for up to two years for any Partner with two years’ service or more.

John Lewis also announced that Patrick Lewis, Executive Director of Finance, is to leave the Partnership at the end of this year following a 26-year career with the firm. 

He will be succeeded by Bérangère Michel, currently Executive Director of Customer Service and former Finance Director for John Lewis.

The size of the business’s Executive Team will also reduce as a new Executive Director for Customer Service will not be recruited. Responsibilities for the role will transfer to James Bailey, Executive Director for Waitrose, and Pippa Wicks, Executive Director for John Lewis.

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Our Partnership Plan sets a course to create a thriving and sustainable business for the future. To achieve this we must be agile and able to adapt quickly to the changing needs of our customers. 

“Losing Partners is incredibly hard as an employee-owned business. Wherever possible, we will seek to find new roles in the Partnership and we’ll provide the best support and retraining opportunities for Partners who leave us.”

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