John Lewis plans to cut nearly 400 jobs in its home fittings services and restaurants amid a shift to online shopping.
The changes will affect administration staff in its carpet, curtain and blinds fittings service. No jobs will be cut among the estimators and fitters. However, administration roles will move from stores to a centre in Didsbury, Manchester, which will also serve online customers. Catering staff in its in-store restaurants will also be affected. John Lewis already uses outside suppliers in a third of its restaurants and plans to adopt a uniform menu in all, meaning chefs will no longer be required.
John Lewis said about 773 staff could be affected by redundancy but would be able to apply for 386 new posts. At the end of the process about 387 roles will go. The changes will affect 32 of its 48 stores. “These proposals will allow us to modernise our business as it adapts to the changing needs of our customers and the role that shops play in their lives,” said Dino Rocos, John Lewis operations director. More than 40% of sales at John Lewis over Christmas were online.
In January the retailer said it expected its full-year pre-tax profit, which it will announce on 9 March, to be higher than last year’s £435m. However, it added that trading was “under pressure” as a result not just of the shift to online, but also because the weaker pound was pushing up costs. The staff-owned John Lewis Partnership, which includes Waitrose, said last month it expected staff bonuses to be “significantly lower” than last year because of the challenging outlook for retail. Last year the 89,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff received 10% of their salary as a bonus. The figure was 17% in 2013.