John Lewis puts 1.5k jobs at risk as retail giant to shut 8 department stores
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John Lewis has announced eight further department stores will not reopen after the UK's current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
The department store retailer's announcement means 1,465 jobs are now at risk, the latest in a string of high street closures following a year of lockdown restrictions.
Staff were told on Wednesday morning that John Lewis will not reopen the stores after lockdown measures lift, as it undergoes a major shift in strategy to adapt to changing shopping habits.
The eight shops set to close comprise four At Home stores in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells and four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York.
It said its remaining 34 John Lewis shops in England will reopen from April 12 subject to Government guidance. Its Glasgow store will open on April 26 and Edinburgh on May 14.
The announcement came eight months after the high street stalwart closed another eight stores, in a move which cut around 1,300 jobs, in the first stage of a sweeping overhaul.
John Lewis Partnership said on Wednesday that it will also transfer the operations of its Waitrose distribution centre in Leyland, Lancashire, to XPO Logistics.
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It said 436 Waitrose staff at the site will be transferred to XPO.
John Lewis has been buoyed by soaring online sales in recent months but these were not sufficient to offset its decline in store sales as it tumbled to a £517 million pre-tax loss for the year to January.
It was the first loss in the group's history dating back to 1864.
Earlier this month, the John Lewis Partnership confirmed it would shut more sites and said its partners would not receive an annual bonus for the first time in 68 years.
It said it expects its financials to get worse over the current financial year as it continues its shake-up and warned staff they are not expected to receive a bonus until 2022-23.
Last year, the company announced separate plans to axe around 1,500 head office jobs to help cut costs.
The move was intended to help the business save around £50 million as part of wider plans to reduce total costs by £300 million
- John Lewis
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