More cost-cutting at John Lewis as company eyes £300m annual savings

The John Lewis Partnership warned it will continue to cut costs as it outlined a new growth strategy aimed at reviving profits.

The retail giant, which runs the John Lewis department store chain and Waitrose grocery arm, said it wants to save £300 million each year by 2022 by further streamlining its head office and operations.

Last year, the company said it aimed to secure £100 million in annual savings.

The announcement comes months after it revealed plans to shut eight John Lewis stores with the loss of 1,300 jobs and the closure of four Waitrose stores in a move which hit 124 jobs.

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Last month, the group told staff they would not receive a bonus for the first time since 1953 after it dived to a £635 million pre-tax loss for the six months to July, following a £470 million write-down on its stores.

On Friday, it said it plans to restore the bonus once its annual profits return to £150 million.

The company said it has set a target for profits to reach £200 million in the next two years and £400 million by 2025.

Growth is set to be boosted by expansion, with the group revealing plans to secure 40% of its profits from new areas by 2030.

It said it is investing £100 million to rapidly grow its financial services arm, with customers able to secure retail credit across its business from early next year.

The company also said it is pushing forward with plans to expand into housing, highlighting that it has identified 20 potential sites which could be used for private housing.

The partnership is also planning to invest £1 billion over the next five years to drive growth in its online operations.

Its online activities grew during the pandemic, with its Waitrose arm rapidly expanding its delivery operations as its partnership with Ocado came to an end.

Coronavirus – Mon Jul 13, 2020
Coronavirus – Mon Jul 13, 2020

On Friday, Waitrose also announced plans to expand its rapid delivery service through Deliveroo.

John Lewis Partnership chairwoman Sharon White said: “We’ve seen five years of change in the past five months, and Waitrose and John Lewis have responded with great agility.

“Our plan means the John Lewis Partnership will thrive for the next century, as it has the last.

“We’re adapting successfully to how customers want to shop today, while showing the partnership is improving lives and building a more sustainable future.

“We’ll share our success with our customers, partners – who own the business – and our communities.”