John Lewis staff miss out on bonus as store closures announced
PUBLISHED: 08:55 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:33 17 September 2020
John Lewis Partnership staff are set to miss out on their annual bonus for the first time since 1953 as the group gears up for store closures.
The announcement follows news that the group will be closing four of its Waitrose stores – including one at the Ipswich Corn Exchange.
Employees at the group’s flagship Futura Park store in Ipswich – which will remain open – and the central Ipswich Waitrose will be among those missing out.
Dame Sharon White, chairwoman of the retail group, told staff on Thursday the announcement “will come as a blow”.
MORE – Waitrose in Ipswich Corn Exchange to close
The group posted a £55m loss for the six months to July 25 after higher costs offset a rise in revenues.
“The pandemic has brought forward changes in consumer shopping habits which might have taken five years into five months,” she said.
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“Both brands entered the crisis with strong and established online businesses and in the case of Waitrose, plans for expansion well under way in preparation for the end of the relationship with Ocado. Our digital businesses have been key to underpinning our first half performance.”
As well as the Ipswich Waitrose, the group will close stores in Caldicot and Shrewsbury and has reached a deal to sell its supermarket in Wolverhampton to Tesco.
John Lewis said the announcements “form part of an ongoing review of the Waitrose store estate, which began in 2017”.
“We have found trading challenging in these four shops and, despite the best efforts of partners, we have not been able to find a way to make them profitable in the long-term,” it said.
The Ipswich Corn Exchange is expected to close at the end of trade on December 6. Its Ipswich supermarket store in Futura Park will remain open.
A total of 124 staff across the Ipswich Corn Exchange, Caldicot and Shrewsbury stores are at risk of redundancy and have entered a period of consultation. The retailer will look at transferring staff who want to remain in the business to other stores where possible.
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