John Lewis slashes management by a third as part of "necessary" restructuring plans

As part of its Future Partnership initiative, John Lewis will merge its head office team with supermarket chain Waitrose

Retail giant John Lewis Partners is set to cut a third of its senior management roles as part of its 2020 Future Partnership initiative.

The plan will see the retailer’s head office team merge with its supermarket chain Waitrose to be run as a single business.

According to John Lewis, the restructure will streamline the company in order to deliver better products and services for its customers.

“In the last three years we have delivered significant innovation and driven efficiency, maintaining market leading service standards and growing customer numbers,” said John Lewis’ exiting Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield.

“However, the lesson of the last two years is that we need more innovation, faster decision making and bolder steps to align our operating model with out strategy.”

The companies will no longer have divisional boards or separate Managing Directors and will be run by seven new director roles, led by incoming Chairman Sharon White, who was appointed CEO in June this year.

The cutes, which will reduce the retailer’s senior management team to around 150, are expected to save £100m.

Mayfield added that the reductions are “necessary” to ensure the brand is well equipped “to break out from the cycle of declining returns that are affecting most established retailers”.

Earlier this year, UK retailer Debenhams fell into administration.

Meanwhile, House of Fraser, which was described by retail tycoon Mike Ashley “nothing short of terminal”, has managed to extend its administration plans for another 12 months.

Mayfield admitted the changes would be “difficult” for some of its staff and that the business would implement the changes “as carefully and sensitively as we can”.

A spokesperson from John Lewis told Cosmetics Business the retailer had been working on the plans since June 2018, but would not provide any further comment.

The changes are expected to take effect from 3 February 2020.

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