John Lewis, the well-known department store in the UK, has experienced numerous challenges in recent years. However, according to chairman Sharon White, the company is now on track to become profitable again in the near future. The announcement comes as John Lewis considers cutting up to 11,000 jobs over the next five years.

In a video message to the company’s employees, known as Partners, White emphasized the need for significant and bold changes in order to achieve a successful turnaround. The retailer suffered a loss of £234 million last year, but White remains optimistic, stating that the efforts made in the past year are starting to yield positive outcomes for the company. She highlighted that a substantial portion of sales will translate into profit this year, indicating a promising start towards sustainable profitability.

This news is particularly encouraging given that White had previously stated that it would take a few more years to achieve sustainable profits. However, both White and CEO Nish Kankiwala made it clear that layoffs would only be considered as a last resort. Instead, the company intends to reduce its workforce through natural attrition, as it typically hires new employees to replace those who leave each year.

Kankiwala emphasized the importance of focusing on the core aspects of the business, ensuring that the company’s stores are enticing to customers. This commitment to improving the retail experience suggests a departure from previous plans to diversify into financial services and build-to-rent homes, which had faced criticism.

The John Lewis Partnership operates under a unique business model in which employees are also co-owners of the company. Given the company’s strong emphasis on employee ownership, its profitability is vital not only for shareholders but also for its workforce. As John Lewis strives towards a sustainable and independent future, White and Kankiwala are resolute in making the necessary changes to secure long-term success.

Useful links related to the article:
1. John Lewis Partnership
2. John Lewis Official Website