John Lewis warns on jobs as staff lose bonus, profits slump
John Lewis of Hungerford
UK retailer John Lewis on Thursday warned it may have to cut jobs as it slumped to a full-year loss and told staff it will not hand out a bonus for only the second time since 1953.
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The employee-owned business, which runs the John Lewis department store and Waitrose grocery chains, is looking at swingeing cuts as shoppers cut back on spending amid the cost of living crisis.
“As we need to become more efficient and productive, that will have an impact on our number of Partners,” said company chairwoman Sharon White.
She added that there were “no numbers” on how many staff could be impacted but warned planned improvements would leave the company with a smaller workforce.
“As we get more efficient, that inevitably means less time and fewer partners. We are trying to make clear this morning that the partnership planning is uprating the amount of efficiencies we can go after. We are expecting them to have impacts but there are no numbers.”
The group posted a £78m loss before exceptional items for the year to January 28, a reverse from the
£181m profit in the previous year, with John Lewis citing “inflationary pressures”. Sales fell 2% to £12.2bn.
On a pre-tax basis it recorded a £234m loss after writedowns on retail properties were taken into account.
Waitrose sales declined by 3% to £7.3bn, while John Lewis recorded 0.2% growth to £5bn.
It is now looking to triple its cost savings target to around £900m million by January 2026, including an extra £236m from further “simplification”.
Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com