John Lewis is set to axe jobs and shut stores in a bid to cut costs, it has been revealed.
In a bombshell letter to staff and seen by the Evening Standard, new chairman Sharon White said the company has “too much store space for the way people want to shop now”.
Its bonus is also likely to be ditched next year.
White also confirmed plans to close several unnamed shops, with staff set to be informed on the specific branches in mid-July.
She said: “As difficult as it is, we now know that it is highly unlikely that we will reopen all our John Lewis stores.
“Regrettably, it is likely that there will implications for some partners’ jobs. We are in active discussions with landlords about ending some leases and renegotiating others to make the terms more flexible.”
One of two head offices in Victoria, central London – normally home to 450 staff – will reportedly close.
"We are rethinking our head office space to cement more flexible working that has become a feature of the crisis, and will be relinquishing Partnership House in London," White added.
The adjacent office at 171 Victoria Street, usually home to 2400 staff, will stay open.
On the bonus, she said: "There is clearly a lot of uncertainty but as things stand, it is hard to see the circumstances where we will be able to pay a bonus next year. I know this will be a blow for partners who have made sacrifices these past months."
In March, John Lewis revealed its annual profits had slumped 23% to £123 million.
Around 20 John Lewis stores have reopened since non-essential retailers were given the green light on June 15.
Plans to open a further 10 were announced today, including Oxford Street on July 13.
John Lewis stores in Basingstoke, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Chester, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Stratford and the Trafford Centre will be the next to reopen on July 16.