Department store chain John Lewis has announced plans to cut a further 1,500 jobs between now and April, in a bid to create a “more flexible” head office.

The retailer said the changes would “save another £50m on top of £50m of recent efficiencies” and were part of its ongoing plan to “create an agile, and flexible head office that is even closer to customers and frontline partners”.

John Lewis said all affected staff would be consulted on the proposals and, where possible, it would “seek to find new roles” for those made redundant within the organisation. 

John Lewis Partnership chair Dame Sharon White 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.”

The latest round of job cuts follows the announcement in July that John Lewis would be closing eight stores at the cost of around 1,300 staff

As part of this head office restructuring, John Lewis said it would also be streamlining its executive team, with the role of executive director, customer service being removed. 

The retailer said customer service director Bérangère Michel will replace outgoing finance director Patrick Lewis, who will step down from John Lewis after 26 years with the business.

The responsibilities of the former customer service director role will be split between Waitrose executive director James Bailey and John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks.

White said: “It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with Patrick. He is the best of the partnership and personifies our purpose and our values. His determined drive to build the financial strength of the business has granted us an opportunity to emerge stronger from the Covid crisis. 

“Patrick told me a while ago of his wish to leave the partnership to seek new opportunities. I’m very grateful to him for agreeing to stay until we’d been able to identify a successor.”

Under White’s leadership, it is clear that John Lewis sees its future prosperity outside of its core retail offering. In October, the retailer was given the green light to transform more than half of its Oxford Street flagship store into office space

White said she wants the business to generate 40% of its profits from new areas such as housing provision and financial services by 2030. John Lewis will invest £100m into the latter alone over the next five years as part of ambitious plans to grow the division fourfold. 

The department store chain’s requirements for physical space are also expected to diminish. White believes the group will be a “60-70% online retailer” by 2025, a shift that is likely to leave the chain with excess store space to repurpose.