Waitrose top management have spared the Wellington branch in the cull that has seen six stores scheduled for closure with hundreds of jobs lost.
However, there may still be an impact in this town as Waitrose is stripping out the role of Department Manager in a move designed to cut overheads amid falling profits for the upmarket grocer.
Waitrose said most of the 486 department managers across the UK would become deputy store managers and the reduction in staff would happen gradually over three years through retirement, “natural turnover” and voluntary redundancies.
John Lewis, the parent group has warned that its annual bonus for staff, who own the company collectively, would fall significantly this year and staff numbers would drop after operating profits dived 58.3% to £113.7m in the six months to the end of July. Waitrose’s operating profit before exceptional items was down 10.5% to £121.3m as sales at established stores slid 1%.
The six stores due to close are in Hertford, Staines, Leek, Huntingdon, Cardiff Queen Street and Palmers Green in north London. Plans to build seven new supermarkets have been dropped.