On 14th July, the John Lewis Partnership announced that it would be cutting up to 1,000 jobs across its John Lewis and Waitrose stores in a bid to streamline management structures.

The news follows the earlier decision to close a number of stores across the UK as part of its 5-year Partnership plan, which aims to reduce business costs by £300 million per year by 2022.

The effects of the pandemic

There is no denying that the pandemic was, and continues to be, a catalyst for drastically altering shopper habits and many flagship brands are reacting accordingly.

The John Lewis Partnership's decision to simplify management structures, focus on customer service and invest in its existing store portfolio is more evidence of this. Whilst this might be welcome relief for their finances, it is unfortunate news for the individuals affected.

A shift to ecommerce

Even before the pandemic, shopping behaviour was changing, with many people preferring to shop online. Over the last year this became a necessity, accelerating the trend and causing retailers to have to react quickly, shifting their attention towards ecommerce. John Lewis was no different.

While there's been no mention of further store closures this time around, with a greater focus on ecommerce it's clear that this is something the Partnership presumably cannot rule out as they advance their shift from bricks-and-mortar retail to online.

Faced with redundancies

Despite the positive spin that this latest restructuring will allow "reinvestment for customers", including investing more in ecommerce and customer service, it is likely to mean the John Lewis Partnership now has a potentially tricky redundancy process on its hands.

These redundancies should be handled with care and the correct due diligence, to avoid any disputes or difficulties later down the line. This being said, John Lewis is expected to offer support to its staff, by helping them find new employment elsewhere in the business.

Get in touch to find out how our restructuring and insolvency and employment teams can help.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.