John Lewis has said almost 400 employees are set to be made redundant as part of a major structural shake-up.
The John Lewis Partnership, the parent company of the department store chain, has commenced the consultation process with 773 staff, but only around half of them will have their jobs saved if their application for the 386 new roles elsewhere in the company are successful.
The company said it wanted to shift its home estimation and fittings services – the section responsible for measuring up in customers’ homes and installing curtains, blinds and flooring – a central hub in Manchester.
It also wants to make food preparation for its The Place to Eat restaurants less labour-intensive and centralised. Employees currently prepare food in an in-store kitchen, but now the food would prepared centrally and assembled at individual locations.
John Lewis operations director Dino Rocos said the cuts would adapt help adapt the retailer to the changing needs of customers amid “a backdrop of structural changes in the retail industry”.
“Our partners are passionate about offering the very best customer service and these proposals will allow us to modernise our business as it adapts to the changing needs of our customers and the role that shops play in their lives,” he said.
“We understand that for some this will mean a period of change, and we are working with affected partners over the consultation period to give opportunities for redeployment in new roles wherever possible.”
John Lewis – often regarded as a bellwether for the general health of the high street – said the structural changes would affect 32 of its 48 stores across the UK.
The consultation process is expected to last a few months.
The news comes after John Lewis said last month that its renowned staff bonus would be ”significantly lower” than last year due to challenging market outlook.
Earlier this month it was revealed that 500 jobs at Waitrose, which is also owned by the partnership, were in jeopardy as the grocer planned cut an entire level of management as well as close five of stores.
In September, the John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield warned that it would be losing staff “over time”.