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Online boom forces John Lewis to axe 325 managers, despite retailer being one of the strongest performers on the high street
Retailer is to axe hundreds of senior roles at its 28 department stores'Streamlining' management structures as more customers shop onlineFirm's Christmas online sales were up 44 per cent year on yearOverall sales rose by 15 per cent for the five weeks to December 29
01:56 GMT, 14 February 2013
01:57 GMT, 14 February 2013
It is seen as one of the safe havens of the high street.
But John Lewis, held up as the face of ‘responsible capitalism’ by ministers, is axing hundreds of senior roles at its 28 department stores.
The popular retailer yesterday announced plans to wipe out 325 departmental manager posts – paying salaries of 35,000 to 45,000 – despite being one of the high street’s strongest performers.
Safe haven: The popular retailer has announced it is to axe hundreds of senior posts at its 28 department stores, as more and more customers choose to shop online
The move has been triggered by customers turning online.
The company’s Christmas online sales were up 44 per cent year-on-year and overall sales rose by 15 per cent to 684 million for the five weeks to December 29.
In a statement John Lewis – famous for classing staff as partners and paying them bonuses – said: ‘As part of our plans for future growth, we are proposing to streamline management structures in some of our established shops.
There will be opportunities for redeployment in new roles created as part of this process or in new shops due to open over the next 18 months.’
Just three months ago managing director Andy Street warned that John Lewis could be put out of business if foreign giants are not forced to pay more tax in the UK.
He warned that firms such as Amazon, based in overseas tax havens, would ‘out-invest and ultimately out-trade’ businesses that are paying full taxes in the UK.
Popular: The move comes in spite of the retailer's positive Christmas period, during which it saw overall sales increase by 15 per cent in the five weeks to December 29
But he insisted yesterday that the job losses were not linked to that warning. He said: ‘What we are doing is anticipating how the retail market is changing and ensuring our shop model is competitive for the long term.
'Otherwise, we will end up in a position that some of our competitors are reflecting.’
In a dismal day for UK retailers, fashion chain Republic collapsed, putting 2,500 jobs in 121 stores at risk, while the administrator of movie rental firm Blockbuster cut 800 jobs.