According to The Register, the company had started a 90-day consultation process for making staff redundant. It noted in its report that 90-day consultation processes are required in situations where companies plan to cut more than 100 staff.
A John Lewis spokesman told Computerworld UK that “part of the purpose of the consultation is to act as a means to discuss proposed changes and to provide a medium for information to be both relayed and received.”
He added: “We are currently implementing a partnership programme to update, improve and standardise Corporate Computer Services. This programme will significantly increase the partnership’s efficiency and consistency in line with our customers’ needs.”
However, when asked about possible job cuts, he said that John Lewis “cannot confirm anything regarding restructure, at present, as consultations with partners are ongoing”.
This news may come as a surprise to some, as John Lewis recently announed plans to hire more than 50 IT specialists this year in a bid to support increased investment in multi-channel customer service offerings. The roles will include project managers, business analysts, systems analysts and developers.
However, the current review of IT is for back-office and support staff operating out of the John Lewis Partnership. Whereas the new recruits will be driving innovation at the front end for such things as John Lewis online and its electronic point of sales systems, which are supported out of a different department.
“Technology has been identified as one of the most important drivers of business growth,” said Owen Roberts at the time, John Lewis’ recruitment manager.
“We are now looking for talented IT professionals to join our team and help us take multi-channel retail to the next level, cementing our reputation as an industry leader.”