John Lewis Partnership contemplates significant job cuts to accelerate restructuring efforts

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The renowned owner of John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, is reportedly considering a substantial reduction in its workforce over the next five years. According to a report, the company is contemplating cutting as many as 11,000 staff positions across its head office, supermarkets, and department stores.

Sources cited in the report indicate that this move could affect at least 10% of the staff-owned business’s workforce. The reduction in roles is expected to be gradual and will not be immediately replaced, reflecting the company’s broader strategy to enhance efficiency and streamline its operations.

John Lewis Partnership stated, “The John Lewis Partnership has a plan to return to profit, which involves investing heavily to enhance our customer offer, technology, stores, and becoming more efficient. This is working, and performance is improving, but as we have already announced, that sadly means reducing the number of Partners we need in our business.”

The company’s decision to consider such significant job cuts comes in the wake of its previous warning in March last year, wherein it announced the possibility of staff reductions and the suspension of any bonuses due to a decline in customer spending. This downturn in consumer behavior led to a notable increase in the company’s annual loss.

Moreover, the 159-year-old retailer has faced ongoing challenges, including fierce competition in the retail sector and the costs associated with expanding its online presence. Sharon White, the current chair of John Lewis, disclosed last September that the company’s turnaround efforts would require additional time and resources due to inflationary pressures. She is set to step down from her position in 2025.

The John Lewis Partnership’s contemplation of significant job cuts underscores the broader challenges facing traditional retailers as they navigate an increasingly competitive landscape and strive to adapt to evolving consumer preferences and market dynamics.

(Source: The Guardian | | Retail Gazette)

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