John Lewis purchases new warehouse to meet online demand, creating 500 jobs, Retail News, AND Retail

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s John Lewis Partnership said on Wednesday it had signed an agreement to lease a million-square-foot food distribution center to the supermarket group Tesco to meet growing online demand, with the creation of 500 jobs.

The employee-owned group, which operates the John Lewis department stores and upscale supermarket chain Waitrose, said the Milton Keynes warehouse in north-west London would be second in size after its campus in 2 million square feet at four miles.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, its online sales have grown from 40% to over 60% of total department store sales and John Lewis President Sharon White has said they could reach 70% .

John Lewis plans to begin operating the warehouse, which is under an 11-year lease, in the summer of 2022.

The group plans to invest £ 50million ($ 69million) in online department store operations in 2021 and more than an additional £ 100million in online growth during its five-year strategy.

However, the new jobs will only partially offset the recent losses, as John Lewis said last month he planned to cut 1,000 managerial positions.

This followed an announcement in March of the permanent closure of eight stores, affecting 1,465 jobs, and the closure of eight stores in July of last year, affecting 1,300 jobs.

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