John Lewis to announce radical shake-up

John Lewis Sharon White
John Lewis Partnership saw its profits drop from £452 million in 2017 to £146 million
// John Lewis chair Sharon White battles to revive the partnership’s fortunes
// New ‘Better Jobs’ initiative aims to create more “rewarding and enriching jobs” at 120 companies John Lewis buys from

John Lewis is reportedly expected to announce a radical shake-up of the way that it deals with suppliers in the wake of Covid-19.

The retailer has revealed the ‘Better Jobs’ initiative, which will help create more “rewarding and enriching jobs” at 120 companies it buys its products from.

The partnership, which also owns Waitrose, will work with firms to improve their staff’s experience at work, such as career progression, job security, and wellbeing, as well as offer direct help from John Lewis experts, Mail on Sunday reported.


John Lewis Partnership saw its profits drop from £452 million in 2017 to £146 million – which meant staff had their bonuses cut to the lowest levels since 1953.

Since the coronavirus pandemic struck the UK, the department store chain has shut eight of its 51 stores.

The partnership will also trial a series of services such as allowing customers to rent John Lewis products rather than buy them, as well as use the retailer’s website to sell secondhand items to other customers.

The initiative fits White’s sustainability drive, which is a “growing priority for customers”.

The company will also focus on its banking and financial services business and expand into horticulture and garden products.

White, who is axing 75 out of 225 senior head office staff in a £100 million cost-cutting drive, revealed the first steps to reinventing the department store model last week.

The retailer has been exploring the possibility of branching out to private rented housing as part of five strategic steps to grow the business in a post-coronavirus market.

In a letter sent to 80,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff on Thursday, White grouped the plans under five areas of strategic focus: “driven by purpose”, “simplifying how we work”, “strengthening retail”, “expanding into more services”, and “partnering to grow”.

White said the next steps would see a “rebalance” of the partnership’s store estate, a reduction of head office costs, a focus on home and nursery, a “digital-first” approach in department stores, providing John Lewis Home products within Waitrose stores, and working with third parties on private and affordable rental housing.

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  1. The first thing J. LEWIS should do is to restore the local telephone answering to the individual stores. At present your call is answered in Plymouth, and can be very frustrating.

  2. I worked at JLP by way òf agency, in Yorkshire nice new store, the service is non existence, unbelievable how time and time again I saw customer ignored, I have worked retail in the USA and cruise ships I know all about customer service! I felt like a one man show when in the cosmetic department. Nice thing is I love JLP
    they always worked me 6/ 7 day a
    week cheap agency pay knowing how much money in sales I would do for them but would not hire me full time beauty job. I wonder why.

  3. Perhaps in thinking radically the Partnership should move all their offices out of Victoria completely and move those facilities into Magna Park (Milton Keynes) next to their distribution /warehouse. In my experience working adjacent sharpens up the management decision process. You really know whats going on, rather than waiting for an analyst’s verdict.

  4. WTF – why in a pandemic where partners are losing their jobs left right and centre across JLP would the partnership decide to make other companies lifes better whilst ruining their own by making partners redundant. Also pipedreams like creating houses for people to live in, if you speak to the leadership they will tell you that this is about making “JLP Different” what is actually shows is that they have zero clue how to run an actual Retail business and instead fritter away precious resources, time and money on ridiculous things that just detract from being a business.

  5. I have to disagree with the first comment. Who do they think was taking the calls from customers while all the stores were closed? Who kept flying the JL flag? That would be the call centre agents.

  6. Many years ago my partner rented a chair at a JL store. Hairdressing. Customers browsed the store after visiting her- probably buying the odd item. JL in their ‘wisdom’ decided selling ‘white goods’ would be more profitable and threw her out. A mistake.

  7. Who are NOT JL&P partners! If it wasn’t for their outsourcing, JL&P would have already gone under. The teamwork needs to be clearer and stronger, not taken back in house. The income generated and customer satisfaction gained by the outsourced teams wipes the floor with what the in store staff generated and the goodwill and service the in store partners create and maintain is also necessary and cannot be replicated by the outsourcing teams. It is a symbiotic relationship that has been proven to work, especially over this Covid-19 period.


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