John Lewis is to cut up to 1,500 jobs at its head office as it drastically cuts costs across the business, while Lloyds Banking Group has said it plans to cut another 1,070 jobs as part of its major restructuring programme.
The retail giant, which runs John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, is looking to save £50 million by reducing the size of its head office teams (based mostly in central London and Bracknell) by almost one third.
The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) currently employ just under 80,000 people and is attempting to save £300 million by 2022.The roles are planned to be cut by April 2021.
The announcement comes months after it revealed plans to shut eight John Lewis stores with the loss of 1,300 jobs and the closure of four Waitrose stores in a move which hit 124 jobs.
In September, the group also told staff they would not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953 after it dived to a £635 million pre-tax loss for the six months to July, following a £470 million writedown on its stores.
The partnership said that the latest cuts are part of an efficiency plan designed to “create an agile and flexible head office” which is closer to customers and frontline staff.
JLP said it will now be consulting with affected partners about the cuts and will seek to find new roles elsewhere in the company where possible.
Sharon White, chair of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Our partnership plan sets a course to create a thriving and sustainable business for the future.
“To achieve this we must be agile and able to adapt quickly to the changing needs of our customers.
“Losing partners is incredibly hard as an employee-owned business.
“Wherever possible, we will seek to find new roles in the partnership and we’ll provide the best support and retraining opportunities for partners who leave us.”
On Wednesday, the group also said that Patrick Lewis, executive director of finance and great-grandson of the company’s founder, will leave the business.
It said he will be replaced by current executive director for customer service Berangere Michel, who will not be replaced as a result of the head office restructuring.
Mr Lewis said: “I’ve felt very lucky to be part of a leadership team in such an extraordinary organisation.
“I’m immensely proud of the role the partnership plays in demonstrating a better way of doing business, and hugely grateful for the unstinting support I’ve had from colleagues over such a long period in furthering that goal.”
Lloyds Banking Group
The job cuts are the latest set of redundancies as part of ongoing transformation plans designed to help the company “adapt to customers’ changing needs”.
The move will mainly affect staff in its group transformation and retail banking teams, and will result in no further bank closures, it said on Wednesday.
Lloyds said its latest restructuring move will result in a net reduction of around 730 roles, as it will also create a further 340 positions across the business.
In September, it unveiled plans to slash 865 jobs mainly in its insurance, wealth and retail teams.
A Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson said: “This morning we shared changes to some of our teams and we can confirm a net reduction of around 730 roles.
“These changes reflect our ongoing plans to continue to meet our customers’ changing needs and make parts of our business simpler.
“The majority of colleagues briefed today will not leave until January at the earliest.
“We will help colleagues who are affected find new roles and redeployment opportunities wherever possible and everyone will be given access to a package of training and support designed to help them secure their next position, whether within or outside of our business.
“Change does mean making difficult decisions and our focus remains on supporting our customers, colleagues and communities.”
The Unite union has branded the move as a “shameful decision”, and called for the bank to postpone its restructuring efforts amid the rising threat of Covid-19.
Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: “Unite cannot comprehend why LBG would choose to cut 1,000 staff who have given the bank such commitment and dedication during a global pandemic.
“These staff have worked tirelessly despite any risks to themselves.”