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John Lewis and Waitrose lowers temperature and reduces lighting amid energy crisis

Chloe Burney
05 December 2022

John Lewis is cutting its temperature and Waitrose is moving to ‘half lighting’ in an attempt to lower energy bills during Britain’s energy crisis.

Despite John Lewis signing an agreement in 2020, which includes fixed rates for much of its power usage, the sister companies will exceed budgets by £20 million if no action is taken to reduce energy costs.

The new initiative sees Waitrose stores operating on ‘half lighting’ for the first two hours of trading, Monday-Friday. The brightness of lighting and the number of lights switched off will vary between branches. John Lewis is conducting lighting surveys to explore cost-cutting measures and will save on energy costs by cutting store temperatures.

The group emailed staff to explain the new plans, stating: “Between now and 30 December 2022, the temperature of our branches, offices, and distribution centres will be reduced by 2 degrees and systems switched to eco mode.”

The move comes as UK businesses are struggling to pay soaring bills. Despite intervention from the government to support households and companies, businesses have still seen significant increases in costs in comparison to the previous year.

In addition, the partnership is eager to cost cut after it suffered a first-half loss of £99 million, blaming inflation.

Neil Coleman, Operations Manager for Energy and Innovation for the John Lewis Partnership, commented: “We have an ambitious plan to reduce energy consumption and aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2035. With energy prices rising, we’re accelerating this.

“As well as improving sustainability, reducing overheads helps keep prices low for customers. The small changes to lighting and heating are just part of our plan, and will be kept under review to make sure it doesn’t impact customers’ shopping experience.”

This news follows the partnership's £500m deal with the investment giant Abrdn to build 1,000 residential rental homes, redeveloping three sites already owned by its retail chains.

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