The John Lewis Partnership has announced the next phase of its future strategy, and confirmed that five Waitrose stores will be closing.

The next phase of its strategy is designed to develop and strengthen the whole business. The reason behind the closures is said to be in order to assist with plans to prioritise differentiation, and the company will continue to make adjustments to its overall estate, including exits or closures.

The partnership has said that Waitrose will focus on core customers, and over half of Waitrose’s products are now own brand. Plans are also afoot to extend further the range of exclusive products while continuing to raise the quality.

For the full year partnership’s profits, it has reported that there is a wide range of possible outcomes, given the market uncertainty, but it is currently assuming that profits before exceptional items will be substantially lower than last year.

The current Waitrose closures involve the disposal of four convenience shops and one supermarket.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “As retail changes we need to tread a path that enables us to thrive as a business while building on the qualities that make us different.

“The measures that we have outlined are an important next step in our strategy that will ensure we emerge stronger from this period of profound change.”