// John Lewis Partnership to make 1500 head office staff redundant to make HQ more agile & efficient
// It is the next phase of the firm’s 5-year Partnership Plan to return to sustainable profits by 2025
// Meanwhile finance executive director Patrick Lewis, great-grandson of founder John Lewis, is resigning
John Lewis Partnership has announced plans to axe up to 1500 jobs at its head office as part of the latest phase in its five-year turnaround scheme.
The retail giant, which owns Waitrose and John Lewis, said it would make the redundancies by April next year.
It added that it would now be consulting with affected staff about the job cuts and will seek to find them new roles elsewhere in the company where possible.
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The move is expected to save the John Lewis Partnership another £50 million as it seeks to secure £300 million in annual savings by 2022, and sustainable profits by 2025.
The partnership added that the latest job cuts were part of an efficiency plan designed to “create an agile and flexible head office” which is closer to customers and frontline staff.
“Our partnership plan sets a course to create a thriving and sustainable business for the future,” John Lewis Partnership chair Dame Sharon White said.
“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.
“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.”
John Lewis Partnership also confirmed that finance executive director Patrick Lewis, who is also the great-grandson of founder John Lewis, is resigning.
“I’ve felt very lucky to be part of a leadership team in such an extraordinary organisation,” Lewis said.
“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.”
Lewis is to be replaced by current customer service executive director Bérangère Michel, who will not be replaced as a result of the head office restructuring.
Instead, the the customer service responsibilities will transfer to Waitrose executive director James Bailey and John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks.
The news comes after eight John Lewis stores never reopened following the first UK-wide lockdown, leading to the loss of 1300 jobs.
Four Waitrose stores have also since closed down, leading to 124 job losses.
Meanwhile in September, the John Lewis Partnership 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 write-down on its stores.
Last month, the partnership published the Partnership Plan, which aims to see the business continuing to adapt to rapidly changing consumer behaviours while also expanding to new areas outside retail – such as real estate.
The first two years of the Partnership Plan focuses on strengthening the partnership’s Waitrose and John Lewis retail businesses, backed by £1 billion in investments in customer service and experience in-store and online.
This is where the partnership set out a target of £300 million in annual savings by 2022 through operational efficiencies throughout the business, and builds on the head office restructure that started in October last year.
Just last week, John Lewis Partnership was given council permission to convert almost half of its flagship John Lewis store on Oxford Street in London – where it has had a presence since 1864 – into office space.
John Lewis could now turn 45 per cent – which equates to floors three to eight of the flagship into dual use space.