John Lewis announces eight permanent store closures

The John Lewis Partnership has announced that it is not planning to reopen eight of its 42 John Lewis shops from lockdown.

The remaining 34 John Lewis shops will reopen from 12th April, subject to Government guidance – with the exception of Glasgow, which will reopen from 26th April, and Edinburgh, which will reopen on 14th May. 

The eight shops identified for closure include four At Home shops in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells, and four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York.

A total of 1465 members of staff will be affected.  

In its full-year results announcement earlier this month, the partnership said that it aims to reshape the business in response to how its customers increasingly want to shop – both in-store and online, in different parts of the country. The retailer says it can no longer profitably sustain large John Lewis stores in some locations where there are not have enough customers, and that the eight shops in question were financially challenged prior to the pandemic. 

As well as supporting staff made redundant with retraining opportunities, the business says it will provide a £1m Community Investment Fund to support local projects, to be shared among the local areas where the closures are proposed. 

Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, says: “Today’s announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years.

“The high street is going through its biggest change for a generation and we are changing with it. Customers will still be able to get the trusted service that we are known for – however and wherever they want to shop.”

Pippa Wicks, John Lewis’ executive director, adds: “Closing stores is the toughest thing we do as a partnership because we all own our business. If the closures are confirmed, every effort will be made to find new roles for partners and for us to continue to serve our customers by providing access to John Lewis in different ways.

“Alongside a growing online business and the expansion of next-day Click & Collect, we will invest in our in-store services and experiences, as well as new, smaller neighbourhood formats and the introduction of John Lewis ranges in more Waitrose shops.” 

In other news, the partnership has reached an agreement with XPO Logistics to operate its Waitrose distribution centre in Leyland, Lancashire, on its behalf.

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