John Lewis may close 8 of its remaining 42 stores to cut costs

John Lewis is set to close a further 8 stores of its remaining 42 store portfolio. It would be the equivalent of a 20 percent cut of its retail operations as the high street giant aims to save 300 million pounds per year to secure its future.

The Sunday Times reported John Lewis is in negotiations with landlords which could see hundreds of jobs be put at risk. In July last year John Lewis closed eight stores, including the shuttering of its Birmingham flagship. A total of 1,300 jobs were cut in addition to the termination of 1,500 jobs from its London headquarters.

John Lewis chairwoman Dame Sharon White is facing the difficult task to cut costs, navigate operations during a pandemic and pivot the group’s future into the digital age, where it expects turnover to be 70 percent of sales by 2025.

Before the pandemic many stores were no longer viable

Prior to the pandemic Sir Charlie Mayfield, the former chairman, found that 20 of its department stores were no longer viable - the company predicts 70 per cent of its sales will be made online by 2025, the Mirror reports.

The job cuts announced in November represented almost a third of its 5,000 head office staff and were expected to help the firm save 50 million pounds a year, said the Daily Mail.

The Oxford Street flagship will have its excess space converted to offices after it closed one of its London headquarters. In 2019 it made 75 of its 225 senior managers redundant. It hopes the plans will help to stall years of falling profits, and allow it to make 400 million pounds a year by 2025.

Chairman Sharon White said in November: ‘Losing partners is incredibly hard as an employee-owned business. 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.’

While the UK remains in lockdown, retailers including department stores have been shut as shoppers turn to online retailers for essential needs.

Photo credit: John Lewis

 

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