UK department store retailer John Lewis has put around 200 back-of-house jobs at risk of redundancy as the company launches a multimillion-pound rebrand.
A spokesperson for the retailer confirmed to just-style that 200 roles could be cut if proposals go ahead. These are understood to be back-office jobs in IT, finance and store security from the group’s 50 department stores.
“We are currently speaking to a small group of branch partners about proposals within our back-of-house operations to ensure a more efficient way of working and modernise our processes so that our business is set up for the future,” a statement from John Lewis said.
“As part of these proposals, we are also creating a number of new roles and providing better access to training and development. We will be doing everything we can to support those partners impacted by actively helping them to look for other roles across the Partnership.”
The news comes as John Lewis this week changed its name to John Lewis & Partners to highlight that it is owned by its employees. Waitrose, meanwhile, becomes Waitrose & Partners.
In a press release, John Lewis said the change is designed to “highlight their Partnership business model and culture which differentiates them from their main competitors at a time when both businesses are investing in the service their partners offer”.
In addition to investing in their identities, the John Lewis Partnership said in June it would continue to invest in both businesses at a rate of GBP400m-GBP500m per year, to enable the two retail businesses to differentiate themselves from other retailers by innovating in products, customer service and services.
John Lewis & Partners’ largest own brand womenswear collection of 300 designs, which was created entirely in-house and carries the new name John Lewis & Partners, went on sale yesterday (4 September).
The move comes at a time when department stores are under pressure to turn a profit as they battle competition from online retailers. Many have faced headwinds such as increases in business rates and consumers reigning in clothing spend due to a squeeze on disposable incomes.
Last month House of Fraser collapsed into administration, while Debenhams has issued three profit warnings this year and is also cutting jobs.