February 23, 2017 / 8:54 PM / 6 months ago

British retailer John Lewis to cut net 387 jobs in restructuring

A John Lewis store is seen in Oxford street, in London, Britain August 14, 2016. Photograph taken on August 14, 2016.Peter Nicholls/File Photo

(Reuters) - John Lewis [JLP.UL] [JLPLC.UL], Britain's biggest department store chain, plans to cut hundreds of jobs in a reorganisation of its soft furnishings business and changes to the way it operates its in-store restaurants, it said on Thursday.

The employee-owned group, which also owns the upmarket supermarket Waitrose, said it expected the proposals to lead to about 387 fewer roles overall.

It said around 773 employees, or partners as John Lewis calls them, will enter a "period of consultation" and be offered redundancy while 386 other jobs will be created.

Some of the staff who enter the consultation could be re-deployed to the new positions.

John Lewis, whose worker co-ownership model has been lauded by British governments, currently employs 30,000 across the department stores and Waitrose.

Under the restructuring the company plans to move its estimation and fitting service for curtains and carpets to a regional model, with administration moved out of individual stores to a central location, which can also serve online customers.

In addition the company said it had decided to reduce on-site preparation of foods in its restaurants.

The changes mark the first significant move of Paula Nickolds who succeeded Andy Street as John Lewis' managing director last month.

In January the company said that the bonus which it pays annually to its staff was likely to be "significantly lower" this year, as it needed to invest heavily in its online business after 40 percent of total sales came from the internet over Christmas.

Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru, additional reporting by James Davey in London; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Susan Fenton

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