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John Lewis Partnership to slash up to 1,500 head office jobs

By PA News

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The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is to axe up to 1,500 jobs at its head office as it drastically cuts costs across the business.

The retail giant, which runs John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, has said it will cut the roles by April 2021.

It said that the move will help it to save another £50 million as it seeks to secure £300 million in annual savings by 2022.

The announcement comes months after it revealed plans to shut eight John Lewis stores with the loss of 1,300 jobs and the closure of four Waitrose stores in a move which hit 124 jobs.

John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White (John Lewis/PA)
John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White (John Lewis/PA)

In September, the group also told staff they would not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953 after it dived to a £635 million pre-tax loss for the six months to July, following a £470 million writedown on its stores.

The partnership said that the latest cuts are part of an efficiency plan designed to “create an agile and flexible head office” which is closer to customers and frontline staff.

JLP said it will now be consulting with affected partners about the cuts and will seek to find new roles elsewhere in the company where possible.

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.

The retail giant runs Waitrose supermarkets (PA)
The retail giant runs Waitrose supermarkets (PA)

“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.”

On Wednesday, the group also said that Patrick Lewis, executive director of finance and great-grandson of the company’s founder, will leave the business.

It said he will be replaced by current executive director for customer service Berangere Michel, who will not be replaced as a result of the head office restructuring.

Mr Lewis said: “I’ve felt very lucky to be part of a leadership team in such an extraordinary organisation.

“I’m immensely proud of the role the partnership plays in demonstrating a better way of doing business, and hugely grateful for the unstinting support I’ve had from colleagues over such a long period in furthering that goal.”

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