British retailer John Lewis Partnership to cut 1,000 management jobs By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the John Lewis & Partners store at the Oxford Street, in London, Britain July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

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LONDON (Reuters) – The John Lewis Partnership plans to cut 1,000 management jobs at its Waitrose supermarkets and John Lewis department stores as it strives to meet its cost cutting target, the British retailer said on Wednesday.

The employee-owned group said a plan to simplify management structures would lead to the roles becoming redundant and with 34 John Lewis stores and 331 Waitrose supermarkets in total, the cuts would average 2.7 management roles per store.

The latest cuts follow a March announcement about the permanent closure of eight stores, hitting 1,465 jobs, and the closure of eight stores in July last year affecting 1,300 positions.

John Lewis said it would try to find new roles for affected employees, or partners as it calls them, who wanted to stay in the business and also try to minimise compulsory redundancies.

In March, the partnership said the “economic earthquake” of the pandemic had sent it to a 517 million pound ($718 million) annual loss.

While Waitrose in common with its supermarket rivals has seen both sales and costs increase during the crisis, sales at its department store chain have been hammered by multiple lockdowns which forced outlets to close.

A five-year recovery plan, detailed by Chairman Sharon White in October, requires the group to reduce costs by 300 million pounds per year by 2022 to free up cash to invest in the business.

It is investing about 800 million pounds this year.

“We have announced to our partners our intention to simplify our management structures in Waitrose and John Lewis stores, which will allow us to reinvest in what matters most to our customers,” the partnership said in a statement.

($1 = 0.7203 pounds)

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