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John Lewis Partnership cuts another 1,500 jobs in coronavirus crisis shake-up

Written by on 4 November 2020

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is cutting a further 1,500 jobs through a shake-up of its head office functions to save cash as the coronavirus crisis continues to take a toll on sales.

The employee-owned retailer had already shed 1,390 roles in the wake of pandemic disruption this year that saw eight underperforming John Lewis department stores and four Waitrose supermarket sites closed down.

It said the latest wave of cuts would strip out layers of back office functions and remove duplication across its brands to leave a partnership-focused operation.

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Waitrose has enjoyed a spurt in sales while John Lewis has been hurt by lockdowns and consumer caution

The staff affected by the redundancies were informed during calls with line managers this morning.

JLP said that in addition to “market-leading” redundancy, those with at least two years’ service would also secure up to GBP3,000 for retraining purposes.

The company, along with competitors exposed to physical stores, has suffered through lockdown-enforced closures of John Lewis in a crisis that is also testing shoppers’ budgets as job losses accelerate across the economy.

Despite booking a half-year loss of GBP635m, the business is injecting GBP1bn to bolster store and online services – part-aided by its decision not to pay a partnership bonus next year for the first time since 1953.

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Its expanded Partnership Plan is aimed as restoring sustainable profits by 2025, aided by annual savings of GBP300m by 2022.

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John Lewis aiming to be ‘leanest and fastest’ – chairman

JLP chairman Sharon White 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.”