John Lewis Partnership (JLP) chair Dame Sharon White has said that the retailer will return to profit this year. 

Sharon White

John Lewis chair Sharon White expects a return to profitability

White told staff at JLP, which owns grocer Waitrose as well as John Lewis department stores, that the business will “more than break even”, The Telegraph reported.

Her comments came as it emerged that John Lewis may cut as many as 11.000 jobs – about 10% of the workforce – over the next five years as part of its turnaround efforts.

White warned in her message that partners should prepare for “quite big changes and quite bold changes”.

She said: ”There’s been an awful lot of change over the past year.

“But those efforts are starting to show themselves in our commercial performance, we are converting more of our sales into return to partners, and we will more than break even this year, which is a great start as we build back to sustainable profit for the business.”

The business has endured a torrid time post-pandemic, since when it has shut stores, sought to build new revnue streams, such as financial services, and appointed its first ever chief executive. Last year, the retailer racked up losses of £234m.

Former John Lewis director Peter Ruis has recently rejoined the partnership to lead the department stores division.