John Lewis Partnership is shaking up its eponymous department store business with the launch of clothing label JL, coupled with a fresh round of job cuts.
JL replaces JSW and will span both menswear and womenswear. The co-ordinated collection is aimed at customers who follow fashion, but are not slaves to the latest trends.
The retailer is conducting a trial of own-brand white goods, including dishwashers, washing machines and fridge-freezers across six shops. The products bear the retailer's name, which research showed is trusted by customers.
In recent years, the employee-owned business, still labelled old-fashioned in some quarters, has striven to make store operations more competitive.
Following a root-and- branch review, the retailer eliminated more than 1,150 jobs last year. The retailer, which also owns Waitrose, employs 26,000 'partners' across its department stores.
The retailer has since identified scope to lose another 300 posts by standardising administration in stores.
Partners complained that procedures were not straightforward and a spokeswoman confirmed the restructuring would result in about 110 redundant posts.
A further 200 jobs will be shed through natural wastage.
'There were significant differences in structures, procedures and resources across all our branches,' said a spokeswoman. 'We needed a more efficient and consistent approach, which allows all our partners working on the shopfloor to focus on selling, not admin.'
The retailer will redeploy partners where possible.
Several hundred were accommodated following last year's reorganisation.
'We are continually looking at the efficiency of our business,' added JLP personnel director Andy Street. 'We have been quite clear that if there is an opportunity to improve our business then we must take it.'
JL is starting to enter stores now, building up to a launch of the full spring collection on February 27. The womenswear range includes separates, occasionwear and outerwear, as well as accessories such as handbags and jewellery. The menswear offer will include pastel linen suits and brightly coloured polo shirts.