John Lewis sheds another 1,500 jobs from head office

The move by the luxury department store chain will save £50m, a sixth of the cash needed to make up £300m in annual savings by 2022

British department store chain John Lewis has cut another 1,500 jobs from its head office as the retailer moves to save cash following a dip in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The employee-owned retailer said the redundancies will save £50m in funds, a sixth of the money needed to make up £300m in annual savings by 2022.

As part of the new business model, John Lewis will create a more “agile” and “flexible” head office, by delayering its structures and simplifying how staff work.

“Losing partners is incredibly hard as an employee-owned business,” said John Lewis’ Chairman Sharon White.

“Wherever possible, we will seek to find new roles in the partnership and we’ll provide the best support and retaining opportunities for partners who leave us.”

Redundant employees who have served two or more years with the retailer will receive £3,000 towards a recognised qualification or course upon their exit.

Meanwhile, John Lewis’ Executive Director of Finance Patrick Lewis, who has served 26 years with the retailer, will step down from the business at the end of the year.

He will be replaced by Bérangère Michel, currently Executive Director, Customer Service and former Finance Director for the group, whose role will not be replaced as the company streamlines its Executive team.

John Liews, along with many of its competitors, had already stripped 1,390 roles over the summer when it first announced the cost-cutting measures.

The Covid-19 enforced lockdown, and consequent closing of non-essential retailers, also pushed John Lewis to permanently shut eight of its stores and one of its two head offices in the UK capital.

Despite the cuts John Lewis has injected £1bn in capital into the business to boost its online and store services.

The company's five year plan expects the business to return to sustainable profits by 2025.

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