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John Lewis warns stores may close as profits plunge and staff receive 67-year low bonus


John Lewis has warned it could close shops as a plunge in profits forced the retailer to cut staff bonuses to a 67-year low.

The group’s new chair, Sharon White, has launched a strategic review of the business which she says will involve “right sizing” its stores across both John Lewis and Waitrose.

The review will involve store closures “where necessary” as well as space reduction in existing stores and the downsizing of its head office operations.

White expects to reveal the conclusions of her review in autumn.

The chair says the new changes would kick-start a “vital new phase” for the partnership, and said she has “no doubt” the business will be stronger as a result.

“We need to reverse our profit decline and return to growth so that we can invest more in our customers and in our partners.

“This will require a transformation in how we operate as a partnership and could take three to five years to show results.”

The John Lewis Partnership is owned by its staff – known as partners – who usually receive a bonus each year.

This year, staff bonuses have been set at 2%, the lowest since 1953 when it paid no bonus.

The group said it is cutting its staff bonus for the seventh year running, offering just a token bonus this year after seeing underlying pre-tax profits tumble by 23% to £123 million for the year to January 25.

Meanwhile, revenues declined 1.6 per cent year-on-year to £10.15 billion.


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