- 180 store management jobs at risk as part of shake-up
- At least five stores to close across the country later this year
- New flexible working approach to be adopted across all stores
Waitrose plan to cut hundreds of jobs and close up to six stores as part of a shake-up.
The grocer has said 180 store management level jobs are at risk as part of a move to simplify the management structure at its 350 stores by 2020.
A total of 498 permanent store staff roles are also under threat across the stores to close.
Waitrose has kicked off a consultation with staff at the stores – in Hertford, Staines, Leek, Huntingdon, Cardiff Queen Street and Palmers Green in north London – ahead of proposed closures later this year.
However it intends to replace its Palmers Green shop with a new grocer close by in Winchmore Hill.
Waitrose retail director Ben Stimson said: “We’d always try hard to avoid closing branches but we review how our shops are doing commercially and respond where we have to.
”We’ll be consulting with our branch Partners on these proposed closures and will make sure they have all the support they need.”
Waitrose also said it will move to a “flexible working model” in-store, which it said will allow it to offer “better service to our customers and to operate more efficiently”. That will lead to a reduction of 180 store management roles.
The retailer said: ”A more flexible branch team working in a ‘whole shop’ culture rather than one based on defined sections needs a different management structure.” The change is expected to complete by the end of July.
Last September, Waitrose said that it had scrapped plans to develop certain locations. The move meant parent group the John Lewis Partnership took a £25m profit writedown on the value of the land.
Staff across the parent John Lewis Partnership have also been warned that their annual bonus will fall significantly this year after profits across Waitrose and John Lewis plummeted 58.3% to £113.7m in the six months to the end of July.