Waitrose Stamford Alcohol aisle shelf

Waitrose said the workforce reduction happened mainly through natural turnover

The John Lewis Partnership has shed 3,800 jobs over the past year in a bid to slash costs.

The number of staff working for Waitrose’s parent company was down to 70,500 at the end of January, compared with 74,300 the year before.

JLP, which also decided to not pay employees its famed staff bonus in 2023 for the second year running, saved around £26m in employment costs over the year, the Telegraph has reported.

Most of the job losses were in Waitrose stores, as bosses decided to not replace staff who left.

There was an average of 49,600 people working for the supermarket in the year to January 2024, compared with around 52,700 the previous year, company documents showed.

The retailer has been looking at staff efficiencies in its battle to slash a total of £900m in costs as part of its long-term turnaround strategy.

It has been widely reported that JLP management could be looking to axe as many as 11,000 roles from its operations over the next five years. The company has confirmed further job cut plans as part of the turnaround, but has not revealed a specific target figure.

Read more: Waitrose confirms JLP plans to reduce staff numbers

The Grocer reported in March that Waitrose planned to shutter its Enfield fulfilment centre, in a proposed restructure of its logistics network that could see the loss of more than 500 roles. 

The retailer also underwent a shake-up of staff working hours last September in a bid to have them embrace more flexible shifts.

At the time, Waitrose retail director Tina Mitchell said the supermarket loses £400 per year for each full-time employee, and that a third of its total working hours were “in the wrong place”.

Mitchell warned the reshuffle could “result in some partners leaving the business”.

The supermarket also unveiled plans to cut night shifts at some stores and offered workers voluntary redundancy at other locations.

As a whole, the partnership has around 10,000 fewer staff than in early 2020.

A spokesman for JLP said: “We pride ourselves on the award-winning service our partners provide to customers. More than one million new customers shopped with our brands last year.

“We’re investing significantly in training and development, supporting partners to provide a differentiated experience for customers.”

John Lewis’s cost-saving drive has begun to yield results following a challenging few years, with the partnership returning to profit in March after consecutive years of losses.