New John Lewis chair braces staff for store closures and job losses

Dame Sharon White

John Lewis Partnership’s new chair Dame Sharon White has warned staff the retailer may need to reduce its store estate and cut jobs in a bid to improve profitability.

The department store chair White said in a private meeting with the retailer’s staff council that there would “undoubtedly be difficult decisions about stores and about jobs” for the business in the coming months.

White said John Lewis was undergoing the “most challenging period as a partnership” in its history and needed to “cut costs wherever we can”.

“Despite all the hard work and all the commitment of partners, trading results are disappointing,” she said.

“We are not making as much money as we’d like, not making as much money as we need to do to invest in the business, but also to invest in partners.”

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