UK department store operator John Lewis cutting jobs -source

Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:10pm EST

Feb 13 (Reuters) - John Lewis, Britain's biggest department stores group and a rare bright spot on the high street, will let go of as many as 325 department managers, according to a person familiar with the company's plans.

The employee-owned firm said in a statement that the move was part of its long-term growth plan, which has included opening new stores over the years.

About 325 department managers were notified on Wednesday that their roles were under consultation. A 90-day consultation period on the job losses and redeployment will begin in March.

John Lewis has four levels of management at its stores - a managing director, a steering group, department managers and section managers.

The job cuts will affect the third level of management and will create some new jobs at the steering group level.

With Britain facing the prospect of a triple-dip recession, many retailers have been finding the going tough as consumers fret over job security and a squeeze on incomes.

John Lewis has bucked the gloom because its generally more affluent customers have been less impacted by Britain's economic downturn, while improvements to product and service and new modern stores have chimed with consumers.

Since the start of 2013, UK's high street has witnessed an alarming rise in retail casualties with the demise of music retailer HMV, DVD rental firm Blockbuster, camera specialist Jessops and more recently fashion retailer Republic. [ID:nL4N0AS 1AN]

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