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John Lewis to axe 1,500 jobs

Kalila Sangster
·2-min read

Watch: John Lewis cuts another 1,500 jobs

John Lewis has announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs at its head office between now and April 2021.

John Lewis Partnership, which owns the eponymous department store and supermarket Waitrose, announced the job cuts in a statement on Wednesday. The company said the cuts were part of John Lewis’ five-year plan to return to “sustainable profits by 2025.”

The plan, announced last month, aims to make £300m in annual savings by 2022. The retailer said the job cuts would “save another £50m on top of £50m of recent efficiencies, a significant contribution to our £300m target.”

Liverpool, England - February 19, 2011: The sign of John Lewis store in Liverpool. John Lewis is chain of upmarket department stores operating throughout Great Britain.
The cuts are part of a plan to make £300m in annual savings by 2022. Photo: Getty

READ MORE: John Lewis to build homes for rent, launch savings accounts and buy back products

John Lewis will “seek to find new roles in the Partnership for Partners whose roles become redundant,” the company said.

“For Partners who are unable to find new roles, we will provide them with a market leading redundancy support and funds for retraining,” it said in a statement. “This includes up to £3,000 towards a recognised qualification or course for up to two years for any Partner with two years’ service or more.”

Partnership chair Sharon 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.

“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.”

Watch: What is the Job Support Scheme and how has it changed?

READ MORE: John Lewis to close stores, cut jobs, and weigh partner bonus

The company also announced that Patrick Lewis, executive director of finance, will step down at the end of this year after 26 years at the firm.

He will be succeeded by Bérangère Michel, currently executive director of customer service, and a former finance director for John Lewis.

John Lewis has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced it to shut its stores for months at a time. The company lost £635m ($823m) in the first half of 2020, compared to a profit of £192m in the first half of 2019.

In a memo sent to the company’s 80,000 staff in July, White said not all of the business’ stores would reopen and warned job cuts were “likely”.