The John Lewis Partnership has issued a warning regarding probable job losses and informed staff that it will not be giving out bonuses for just the second time since 1953 as a result of a substantial loss.
Employees would undoubtedly be impacted by plans to more aggressively slash expenses to help complete a turnaround of the group’s financial performance, according to bosses at the retail giant.
In a statement to the staff, chairwoman Dame Sharon White stated: “As we need to become more efficient and productive, that will have an impact on our number of partners.”
“That’s a massive regret to me personally.”
There are currently “no numbers” on how many employees would be impacted, according to Dame Sharon, but projected changes will result in a lower workforce overall.
“As we get more efficient, that inevitably means less time and fewer partners,” she told the press.
“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 firm, which owns the department store chain and the supermarket division of Waitrose, had just reported a loss of £78 million before exceptional items for the fiscal year that ended on January 28.
It was a decline from the £181 million profit made the year prior, for which John Lewis cited “inflationary pressures”.
After a “tough set of results,” Dame Sharon also expressed regret to the staff for the lack of a bonus payout.
The retail business reported a loss on Thursday as customers made 2% fewer purchases, bringing annual sales down to £12.25 billion.
Sales at Waitrose fell by 3% to £7.3 billion, while sales at John Lewis increased by 0.2% to £4.94 billion.
The partnership announced on Thursday that it intends to quadruple its cost-savings aim by January 2026 from £300 million to approximately £900 million.