Coronavirus: John Lewis to shut eight shops, risking 1,300 jobs

Coronavirus: John Lewis to close eight stores, risking 1,300 jobs

John Lewis mentioned on Thursday that it might completely shut eight of its shops within the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, placing the roles of as much as 1,300 staff in danger.

The retailer mentioned it might shut two full-size shops in Birmingham and Watford, its journey hub outlets at Heathrow and St Pancras, in addition to 4 of its home-focused shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon, and Tamworth.

“Previous to the pandemic, the eight outlets recognized had been already financially challenged and the pandemic has accelerated the change from procuring in-store to on-line,” the corporate mentioned in an announcement.

“Earlier than the virus struck, 40% of John Lewis gross sales had been on-line. This might now be nearer to 60 to 70% of whole gross sales this 12 months and subsequent,” it mentioned.

New John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White mentioned that the transfer was essential to safe the sustainability of the corporate.

“Closing a store is at all times extremely tough and at this time’s announcement will come as very unhappy information to clients and companions,” she mentioned.

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“Redundancies are at all times an absolute final resort and we are going to do every little thing we are able to to maintain as many companions as attainable inside our enterprise.”

As a result of John Lewis is an employee-owned enterprise, all 80,000 everlasting workers are known as companions.

The corporate mentioned that it might make “each effort” to seek out new roles for these made redundant, similar to by transferring them to Waitrose shops or its on-line divisions.

It additionally introduced a sequence of different helps for many who lose their jobs, and mentioned it might contribute as much as £3,000 in direction of a recognised qualification or coaching course for workers who’ve at the very least two years of service.

John Lewis had beforehand warned that it was contemplating completely closing a few of its shops, warning that it had “an excessive amount of retailer house” for the way in which shoppers will store within the wake of the coronavirus disaster.

It mentioned on Thursday that whereas its bodily outlets will proceed to play a “very important position” in its enterprise, it needed to develop a “vibrant” on-line operation.

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“Each John Lewis and Waitrose will proceed to speculate closely in e-commerce to replicate this shift. Waitrose has already doubled its on-line capability for the reason that starting of the pandemic,” it mentioned.

In a memo despatched to the agency’s 80,000 workers, White additionally warned final week that the retailer would shut one among its two massive Victoria places of work and mentioned it was unlikely that the agency’s companions would obtain their bonus subsequent 12 months.

Employees bonuses at John Lewis are presently set at 2%, the bottom stage since 1953 — the final time it paid no bonus.

The corporate warned earlier this 12 months that it was contemplating axing the workers bonus. There have been simply 17 years in whole for the reason that firm was based in 1919 {that a} bonus was not paid to companions, however most of these years fell throughout World Conflict II.

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