John Lewis to close stores and cut jobs

John Lewis

John Lewis is the latest retailer to announce plans to close several stores and cut UK jobs.

In a memo sent to staff, the department store shared plans to cut costs in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and how consumers are changing the way they shop.

The news from John Lewis comes as Harrods and Topshop owner Arcadia are planning to cut a combined total of 1,800 jobs between them as a result of the “ongoing impacts of this pandemic”.

“The necessary social-distancing requirements to protect employees and customers is having a huge impact on our ability to trade, while the devastation in international travel has meant we have lost key customers coming to our store and frontline operations,” said Harrods chief executive, Michael Ward.

For John Lewis, there has been no decision as of yet on which stores will not reopen and updates will be shared in mid-July.

“The difficult reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now. As difficult as it is, we now know that it is highly unlikely that we will reopen all our John Lewis stores. Regrettably, it is likely that there will implications for some [staff members’] jobs,” said John Lewis chairman, Sharon White.

“There is clearly a lot of uncertainty but as things stand, it is hard to see the circumstances where we will be able to pay a bonus next year. I know this will be a blow for partners who have made sacrifices these past months,” White added.

The department store has struggled amid the pandemic and in March, announced plans to cut its annual staff bonus to the lowest level in almost 70 years.

In March the retailer’s profits fell 23% to £123m.

 

 

 

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Safiya focuses on business and political stories for UK Investor Magazine. Her interests include international development, travel and politics.