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John Lewis Partnership cuts another 1,500 staff as rebuilding plan kicks in


John Lewis Partnership, the department store chain, is to cut a further 1,500 jobs as part of a widespread restructuring to return the employee-owned group to profitability.

The job losses this time are focused on back-office functions said the group, which also owns grocery chain Waitrose, and will remove duplication between the two brands.

Earlier this year, John Lewis Partnership (JLP) said it would close eight department stores and four Waitrose sites.

Seen as a bellwether for the UK’s retail sector, John Lewis posted a loss of GBP635mln in the six months to July which included GBP580mln for closures, job cuts and a restructuring of its head office.

Sales have been under pressure due to the problems of lockdown and also from online competition chipping into its market share.

John Lewis scrapped its staff bonus for the first time since the Second World War due to its struggles.

Chair Sharon White has launched an overhaul of the business that include earmarking 20 sites for residential or office property development, including the top floors of its flagship Oxford Street store in London.

White’s plan also involves investing in new areas such as furniture rental, developing its retail cards and the Waitrose delivery venture with Deliveroo.

The aim is for JLP to be making profits of GBP400mln a year by 2025.

In a letter to staff White said: “Our Partnership Plan sets a course to create a thriving and sustainable business for the future.

“To achieve this we must be agile and able to adapt quickly to the changing needs of our customers.”

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