John Lewis offers staff free food over Christmas to help with cost of living

·2-min read

John Lewis has announced it will give free meals to staff over the Christmas period to help with the soaring cost of living.

The retailer has also launched a recruitment drive for 10,000 new Christmas staff, including store and supply chain jobs to help it deal with increased demand.

It is hiring about 4,000 new seasonal workers for 331 Waitrose shops, including supermarket assistants, night shift workers and delivery drivers, as well as about 2,000 temporary workers for its 34 John Lewis stores.

In addition, John Lewis is also looking to fill around 4,000 roles across its supply chain, including more warehouse works and drivers to keep up with higher demand for orders.

The new positions will be advertised online through September and October.

All permanent and temporary workers will be given free food from 3 October to 6 January to help ease cost of living pressures, the group said.

Andrew Murphy, chief operations officer at John Lewis, said: “We pride ourselves on creating a happy workplace because it’s our partners who make the difference and it’s thanks to them that John Lewis and Waitrose are two of the UK’s best-loved brands.

“We are looking forward to welcoming people across the country to grow our team and ensure we deliver a great Christmas for our customers.”

The drive comes as Britons face an exponential increase in gas and electricity bills this winter, with many planning to go without heating to cut back on costs.

The new energy price cap of £3,549 was announced by Ofgem last week, marking a huge 80 per cent rise in the cost of energy from 1 October.

Meanwhile, food inflation has surged to 5.1 per cent, up from 4.4 per cent in July, with products such as milk and margarine seeing the biggest price rises on the shelves.

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at retail analytics firm NielsenIQ, said: “Inflation continues to accelerate and shoppers are already cautious about how much they spend on groceries, with a fall in volume sales at supermarkets in recent months.

“We can expect this level of food inflation to be with us for at least another six months but hopefully some of the input cost pressures in the supply chain will eventually start to ease.

“However, with further falls in disposable incomes coming this autumn as energy costs rocket again, retail spend will come under pressure in the all-important final quarter of the year.”

Additional reporting by PA