John Lewis has unveiled plans to cut approximately 800 jobs across its restaurants and home fittings divisions, in what is the biggest round of redundancies ever in the department's store history.
In a statement, released on Thursday (23 February), the company said the decision was taken on the back of ongoing pressures facing the UK's retail sector.
The high street retailer indicated 773 staff had entered redundancy consultation and been given the opportunity to apply for 386 new roles, although the majority of those affected are expected to leave.
The latest round of cuts are the greatest number of redundancies since 2009, when the company slashed approximately 700 of its in-store call centres positions,
John Lewis said chef redudancies are part of a strategy that will see the company's cafes serve ready-to-eat meals delivered by external suppliers, rather than having food prepared on the spot.
Meanwhile, plans to streamline the administration of its curtain and carpet estimating and fitting services division, will see jobs moved out of store and into its office in Didsbury, Greater Manchester.
The company, which will publish its financial results on 9 March, last month warned the bonus for staff would suffer a significant drop after operating profits tumbled 58.3% year-on-year to £113.7m in the six months to the end of July.
That will come as a blow for the staff – known as 'partners' at John Lewis, as the company is collectively owned by its employees – which last year saw bonuses hit a 13-year low.