Thursday, February 21, 2019

John Lewis managing director confirms more redundancies on the way


John Lewis has confirmed there will be more redundancies this year as it continues to reinvent itself, its new managing director said today.

Speaking to journalists at the department store chain‘s London headquarters today, Paula Nickolds said that as back-end functions were becoming increasingly automated, there will be fewer staff at John Lewis.

However, she added that efforts would be made to lift their pay and that current roles would be reviewed to bring more value to the retailer.

Nickolds could not confirm when the redundancies would take place or how many people lose their jobs, but the news follows last month‘s announcement that around 400 John Lewis roles will be axed as part of a structural shake-up that will change the way it operates its cafes and store administration.

Nickolds, who was promoted to the top job at the start of the year, also revealed her vision for the retail giant, whereby shop floor staff are trained to become experts in product categories and customers can book in-store consultations.

While this is already done on a small scale, she hoped to expand it to home design and personal fashion stylists.

READ MORE: Almost 400 jobs in jeopardy as John Lewis begins structural shake-up

The managing director also wanted to increase John Lewis‘ own-brand products to 50 per cent of the stock on offer. While a timeframe for this was not yet finalised, she said own-brand products currently comprised of 35 to 40 per cent of the mix.

There were also plans to become “more digital” in order to “connect with people”.

Nickolds said these changes needed to be made as John Lewis – much like the rest of the retail sector – was currently experiencing a “profound and structural shift”.

When it released its annual trading results earlier this month, John Lewis‘ parent company the John Lewis Partnership confirmed it would reduce partners’ bonuses down to six per cent – the equivalent to about three weeks of pay – in order to retain a greater proportion of profits to ensure a sustainable balance sheet in the longterm.

The bonuses were previously 10 per cent.

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