John Lewis director grilled on advertising budget amid job cuts
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The pandemic has been very hard on businesses, and iconic department store John Lewis is no exception. The closures spell the second time the partnership, which also owns Waitrose, has been forced to take stringent action to protect the business and render it viable going forward. John Lewis is fighting back after losing £517million in 2020 because of closures and consumers’ quick transition to online shopping. The department store bosses warned financial results will be even worse next year, and staff will have to miss the popular bonus for the second year in a row – the first time in John Lewis’s history.
Which John Lewis stores will close?
John Lewis is yet to confirm which of its 42 stores will face closure in the coming months.
The retail chain also hasn’t let slip how many jobs will be lost from its 800,000 strong workforce.
In an update on Friday, John Lewis said it’s in discussions with landlords and will confirm exactly which stores are to close by the end of the month.
Eight stores were already closed last year, in a move that put 1,300 jobs at risk throughout the company.
Outside of the shops, John Lewis has been forced to make redundant 1,500 employees from its head office.
The company is also reviewing its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ policy, which has been in place since 1925.
John Lewis is also cutting prices in stores in an effort to widen its appeal and expand its customer base.
The eight store closures are expected to boost the company’s revenue by £300million annually.
In addition to the jobs put at risk, news of John Lewis closures are a further blow to the British high street, which has already seen Debenhams and Arcadia stores shut down.
All in all, 20,000 stores are expected to close their doors forever this year, costing 200,000 jobs within the retail sector.
John Lewis Chairman, Dame Sharon White said: “It’s the biggest economic challenge and public health emergency anyone has lived through, a real economic earthquake.
“It’s a decade’s worth of change in the space of one year. Those shopping habits have changed irreversibly.”
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Bosses have said they will open some smaller John Lewis stores on the high street.
The newer, more compact shops are understood to offer a limited range of products and a place to pick up orders and get advice.
Small John Lewis shopping areas have also been placed in the corner of five Waitrose stores.
If successful, they will be rolled out to “a significant number of our 331 Waitrose shops”.
Retail expert Andrew Busby said: “It feels like the business is being run by consultants.
“It didn’t seem like there was too much conviction about the stores, and it’s almost as if bosses see the stores as a necessary evil for its online business, which is plainly ludicrous.”
John Lewis stores that already closed last year:
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