Support for Partners and communities
If redundancies are confirmed in the eight shops, every effort will be made to find affected Partners new roles for those who wish to remain within the Partnership. When we closed eight John Lewis stores last year, around a third of affected Partners were found permanent roles in the Partnership. Opportunities include transferring to local Waitrose shops or working for johnlewis.com and waitrose.com as they continue to grow.
Partners who cannot or choose not to remain with the Partnership will also have access to a unique Retraining Fund, which will contribute up to £3,000 towards a recognised qualification or course for up to two years for any Partner with two years’ service or more. All Partners will have the option of a three month support programme with an outplacement specialist to help with CV writing and interview skills.
In addition to statutory redundancy payments, Partners who have worked with the business for more than a year would be entitled to Partnership redundancy pay, which equates to two weeks’ pay for every year of service, regardless of age. Those with less than one year’s service who leave on grounds of redundancy would receive an ex-gratia tax-free payment equivalent to one week’s contractual pay.
We will also provide a £1m Community Investment Fund, to support local projects and to be shared among the eight local areas where we propose to close shops.
Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Today's announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected Partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years.
“The high street is going through its biggest change for a generation and we are changing with it. Customers will still be able to get the trusted service that we are known for - however and wherever they want to shop.”
Pippa Wicks, Executive Director for John Lewis, said: “Closing stores is the toughest thing we do as a Partnership because we all own our business. If the closures are confirmed, every effort will be made to find new roles for Partners and for us to continue to serve our customers by providing access to John Lewis in different ways.
“Alongside a growing online business and the expansion of next day Click & Collect, we will invest in our in-store services and experiences, as well as new, smaller neighbourhood formats and the introduction of John Lewis ranges in more Waitrose shops.”
John Lewis continues to trade as normal online and we will reopen our remaining stores in line with Government guidelines.