The John Lewis Partnership will create 500 jobs at a new distribution centre to help it meet surging demand for online sales.
The company, which has cut almost 4,000 roles this year elsewhere in the business and also announced it would not be giving partners its famous annual bonus, has signed an agreement with Tesco to lease a huge distribution site in Milton Keynes from next year.
John Lewis Partnership said online transactions now accounted for more than 60% of its total sales, up from 40% before the pandemic.
The new warehouse will be the second largest of 12 John Lewis distribution centres nationally, and the 500 roles will be recruited over the next two years.
It will be located near the company’s Magna Park distribution centre. Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations said the new site would “fulfil customer orders for fashion, small home furnishing items and technology products”.
He added: “The proximity to our Magna Park campus will enable us to combine more customer orders, reducing both the number of packages we create by approximately one million per year, and the number of lorries on the road, helping us to meet our target of being net zero carbon by 2035.”
John Lewis Partnership has closed a number of its larger stores over the past year, with chair Sharon White calling the pandemic an “economic earthquake”. The retailer has hinted it may move to a model of smaller store formats and will invest in digital sales.