John Lewis Partnership eyes merger of marketing teams

No official consultation process has launched yet.

John Lewis: Elton John featured in last year's Christmas ad
John Lewis: Elton John featured in last year's Christmas ad

John Lewis Partnership is understood to be preparing a merger of its John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners marketing teams that could result in a number of job losses.

The retail group is reportedly planning a sweeping restructure of its business as it seeks to run the two brands more closely together.

The Sunday Times reported that the proposed restructure of John Lewis Partnership's marketing, procurement, finance and human resources departments, as well as the operating boards, has been drawn up by outgoing chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield.

It is understood that a number of roles in the marketing teams could be merged to reduce duplication, but no official consultation process has yet launched.

John Lewis Partnership will first need to discuss any proposal that will lead to 12 or more job losses with its partnership council, a body made up of employees.

A spokesman for the company would not comment on any potential merger of the marketing functions. However, he said that, at its recent half-year results, the business had discussed working as "one business with two brands" and further details will be announced in due course.

John Lewis Partnership is seeking to turn around its fortunes after plunging to a loss amid tough trading conditions.

Two weeks ago, the company reported a half-year loss of £25.9m before tax, bonus and exceptional items, compared with a £0.8m profit in the same period last year.

Of the two brands in the business, Waitrose performed better: sales dipped 0.8% to £3.37bn, but operating profit was up 6.8% to £100.8m. Sales at John Lewis fell 1.8% to £2.05bn, with an operating loss of £34.9m – 4.2% higher than last year’s loss.

Mayfield is due to be replaced next year by former Ofcom boss Sharon White.