Waitrose and John Lewis integration must be delicately implemented to avoid disruption, says GlobalData

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Following the news that the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) plans to streamline operations by consolidating its food and non-food divisions and narrowing its senior management team, Thomas Brereton, retail analyst for GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: “JLP has stated that aligning the two fascias will “sharpen focus on the customer” as well as making internal decision-making processes quicker. However, the core driver of this arrangement – which involves reducing its senior management head office roles from 225 to 150 people and the departure of Waitrose MD Rob Collins – is clearly centered on reducing costs, with JLP estimating that the move will result in a cost saving of £100m over time.

“While employee reductions are always a difficult decision for retailers, JLP should be lauded for the attempt of reducing costs with minimal further impact on consumers, having already closed a net of c.10 stores over the past two years. However, the long-term impact of running a unified strategy for two retailers with such a varied proposition is questionable, and the creation of new roles – particularly Paula Nickolds change from John Lewis MD to Brand Executive Director – may cause initial disorientation.”