John Lewis Partnership announces five Waitrose closures

PUBLISHED: 19:16 27 June 2018 | UPDATED: 19:30 27 June 2018

Waitrose in Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: google Street View.

Waitrose in Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: google Street View.

Archant

The company, which has shops in Welwyn Garden City and St Albans, said its profits this year are predicted to be ‘close to zero’.

John Lewis Partnership, which owns John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, announced today (June 27) that it will close four convenience shops and one small supermarket out of Waitrose’s 353 shops.

The company, which has 85,000 employees, will also have a name change adding “& Partners” to both brands.

Company chair Sir Charlie Mayfield said that the low profits had been predicted back in 2016/17, due to a weak pound, stronger efforts towards savings, and the fact that the company was anticipating a “year of significant change with high exceptional costs.”

He said this was the reason the company issued one of its lowest ever staff bonuses, of five per cent, in March.

The company distributes its profits to employees - or “partners”, as they are known - rather than shareholders.

This is given as an annual bonus as a percentage of staff salaries.

READ MORE: John Lewis 2018 drop in staff bonus announced

The announcement comes at an unprecedented slump in high street retail, with numerous companies announcing closures or taking steps to ward off going into administration.

John Lewis Partnership described its strategy to survive in the maelstrom in three ways.

It will “sharpen [its] points of difference”, aiming at innovation rather than scale.

The company plans to maintain a high level of investment in the business, even if it adds short-term pressure to profits.

Also, the company says its unique employee structure will continue to be at the heart of the company’s brand.

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