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John Lewis reorganising to improve the customer experience, at a net cost of almost 400 jobs

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John Lewis is planning a reorganisation that it says will improve the customer experience in the light of changing shopper habits – at the net cost of almost 400 jobs.

The retailer, ranked Elite in IRUK Top500 research, is consulting on plans that would see 773 jobs, in home estimation and fitting, go. At the same time, 386 new jobs will be created in centralised customer administration. The retailer expects to cut 387 jobs overall.

John Lewis says the moves are part of its work to create a seamless service for customers who are now shopping in different ways for curtains, blinds and floorings. Appointments for measuring and fitting services will now be bookable online, while a customer administration hub will manage customer orders centrally, replacing current in-branch administration teams. The retailer says more skilled roles will be created as “a period of change, investment and innovation for the business”.

John Lewis is also moving to centralise catering, with less on-site food preparation, and says more skilled roles will be available instead.

“Our partners are passionate about offering the very best customer service and these proposals will allow us to modernise our business as it adapts to the changing needs of our customers and the role that shops play in their lives,” said Dino Rocos, John Lewis operations director.

“The proposed new structure will allow us to harness partners’ knowledge and skills, giving them more scope to be in the right place at the right time to deliver great service to our customers when and where it’s needed. We understand that for some this will mean a period of change, and we are working with affected partners over the consultation period to give opportunities for redeployment in new roles wherever possible.”

• The news comes as a LivePerson report concludes that retail staff are among the least likely to fear that their jobs may be automated in future. Its UK Automation Report comes in response to University of Oxford and Deloitte research found that 35% of UK jobs were at risk of being lost to automation. More than half (53.7%) of UK respondents said they were not at all worried by the findings, while 33.7% were a little worried, 9.2% very worried, and 3.4% extremely worried. Some 28.7% of all respondents said they thought jobs could be lost in retail – but 47% of those working in retail said they had not taken any action to protect themselves against this happening, compared to 29.3% overall.

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