Waitrose begins series of proposed cuts by closing two stores putting hundreds of jobs at risk
Staff at two Waitrose branches have been told their stores will close – becoming the first casualties in swingeing cuts proposed by the John Lewis Partnership’s new chairman.
Dame Sharon White, 52, who joined last month from regulator Ofcom, said she would have to make ‘difficult decisions about stores and jobs’.
Staff at branches in Waterlooville, Hampshire, and Helensburgh, in Scotland, were told this week their stores would close, putting hundreds of full and part-time jobs at risk.
Staff at least two Waitrose branches in Waterlooville, Hampshire, and Helensburgh, Argyll, were told this week that their stores would be shutting (file picture)
It will form part of today’s announcement to go with annual results expected to show profits ‘significantly lower’ than in 2018.
There may also be charges worth hundreds of millions due to a massive writedown on the value of its properties.
Underlying pre-tax profits for the group are predicted to drop 40 per cent to £95million, compared with 2018, says retail analyst Nick Bubb.
The results mean staff face losing their bonus for the first time since 1953.
John Lewis Partnership employs more than 80,000 people at 50 John Lewis shops and 338 Waitrose supermarkets and convenience stores.
It closed 12 unprofitable supermarkets in 2019, axing 1,100 jobs.
In September it said underlying pre-tax losses were £25.9million, compared to profits of £800,000 for the same period in 2018 – the first half-year loss in its history.
Over Christmas Waitrose like-for-like sales went up by just 0.4 per cent while sales at John Lewis dropped by 2 per cent. Waitrose declined to comment.