John Lewis is in consultation with staff about the proposed removal of almost 800 jobs, primarily in its customer catering and store administration areas. Jobs in its fashion department are unaffected.
The department store group said today that it was planning to centralise the administration behind its carpet and curtain fitting services with the creation of a central “Customer Administration Hub” to manage customer orders, which will replace the current individual branch administration teams.
It also plans to roll out a new model of customer catering which has been in operation in a third of its 48 stores for some time. Essentially it will cut chefs at it stores in favour of bringing in pre-prepared meals from external suppliers.
As part of the changesÂ 386 new jobs will be created leading to a net loss of 387 roles. “Under the plans, new roles would enable Partners to work more flexibly and ultimately open up opportunities for more skilled roles with more potential for career progression,” John Lewis said in a statement.
Operations director Dino Rocos said the plans would “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.
“The proposed new structure will allow us to harness Partnersâ€™ knowledge and skills, giving them more scope to be in the right place at the right time to deliver great service to our customers when and where itâ€™s needed. We understand that for some this will mean a period of change, and we are working with affected Partners over the consultation period to give opportunities for redeployment in new roles wherever possible,” Rocos added.
The announcement is the first major strategic move by new MD Paula Nickolds who was appointed last October to replace Andy Street who left to pursue a career in politics. Nickolds has been with John Lewis since 1994 and her most recent role before her promotion was that of commercial director.