John Lewis to axe 270 jobs following rebrand
Almost 300 jobs are set to be cut at department store group John Lewis as it embarks on a new chapter with an identity change to reflect the importance of its employees.
The company is axing 270 back office jobs across IT, finance and store security from its 50 department stores, it emerged on Wednesday. It joins a similar announcement by rival Fenwick, which is cutting 408 jobs in a bid to centralise its back office functions.
Department stores are struggling to cope with the challenging trading conditions in the UK retail market, and are under increasing pressure amid higher business rates, muted consumer spending and the rise of online shopping.
Just this week, John Lewis launched a major effort to rebrand all shops, carrier bags, uniforms, marketing activities and online store as ‘John Lewis & Partners’. Managing director Paula Nickolds said the addition of ‘& Partners’ will reinforce the business’ employee-owned nature.
“Our partnership business model and the inherent strength of our partners really sets us apart. That’s why the change to our visual identity this week puts Partners back at the heart of everything we do. This move not only reflects the business we have become but more importantly, the business we want to be,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
The British group has been trying to shift towards a new retail model where services and unique products are at the centre of the experience. In addition to investing in brand acquisition, it is working on giving staff new skills to offer a more personalised service and advice in the fashion and home departments.
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