The High Street Bloodbath Continues as John Lewis announces it could convert almost half its Oxford Street store into offices to stem £55 million in losses – resulting in massive staff lay-offs.
PLANS filed with Westminster Council come as the retailer battles to stem massive first six month losses. John Lewis Partnership is going to axe its famous staff bonus for the first time in more than 70 years after slumping to a loss of €61 million (£55M million) for the first half of the year.
Dame Sharon White, boss of the employee-owned retailer, warned it was on course to make “a small loss or a small profit for the year” after coronavirus ravaged sales at its department store chain. It is the first time since 1948 in the wake of the Second World War that John Lewis has not paid out a proportion of profits to staff.
The owner of Britain’s leading eponymous department store and the upmarket Waitrose supermarket said the closure of stores during the national lockdown and the purchase of low-profit products like toilet paper had hit overall trading. John Lewis staggered the opening of its stores in may across the UK.
The chain is expected to crash further into the red at its half-year results on Thursday after permanently closing eight of its 50 outlets. Among the stores, shutting is the vast Birmingham city-centre store, which has only been open for five years.
Birmingham mayor Andy Street, a former managing director of John Lewis, has been battling to get the store chain to reverse the “dreadful mistake” of closing its Grand Central branch in the city. image: Twitter
The end of the furlough scheme could result in 700,000 jobs losses
Some of the largest retailers have announced thousands of cuts, including M&S and John Lewis
New research has found that a total of 700,000 jobs could be scrapped as the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme draws to a close. The Institute for Employment Studies estimated that there will be 450,000 job losses in the coming months and warned it could exceed 700,000 if employers continue to make redundancies.
Employers have to notify the government’s Insolvency Service ahead of any job cuts that involve more than 20 staff. Between May and July 2020, firms notified the government of nearly 380,000 staff at risk of redundancy. Ministers have been lobbying for an extension to the furlough scheme recently.
This was more than twice as many as at the height of the financial crisis in 2009. The coronavirus jobs retention scheme comes to an end at the conclusion of next month, placing swathes of employees at risk of losing their jobs if businesses cannot pay them because of the impact of the pandemic.
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