John Lewis announces eight store closures

3 weeks ago
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John Lewis store Tunbridge Wells

BEN STANSALL

John Lewis has said it will not reopen eight stores once lockdown eases.

The retail giant, which recently reported big losses, says certain locations cannot sustain a large store.

The closures include four “At Home” shops in Ashford and Tunbridge Wells in Kent, Basingstoke, Hampshire, Chester, Cheshire, and four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire as well as Sheffield and York in Yorkshire.

The move puts 1,465 jobs at risk.

Its statement said it expects 60-70% of its sales to be made online in future.

It comes eight months after it closed a different eight stores, a move affecting 1,300 jobs.

The company says it plans to create more places to shop for John Lewis products across the UK.

‘Every effort’

John Lewis said 34 stores would start reopening from 12 April, subject to government guidance, with the exception of Glasgow, which will reopen from 26 April, and Edinburgh, which will reopen on 14 May.

The company said it would “enter into consultation with the 1,465 affected partners” about the proposals.

Woman carrying John Lewis shopping bag.

Getty Images

It said, should it proceed, it would make “every effort” to find alternative roles for as many as possible.

John Lewis has a unique structure in that its staff are also partners in the business, and receive a share in the profits in good years.

It said the stores that were closing were in locations where it didn’t have enough customers. “Given the significant shift to online shopping in recent years – and our belief that this trend will not materially reverse – we do not think the performance of these eight stores can be substantially improved.

“We expect 60% to 70% of John Lewis sales to be made online in the future. Nearly 50% of our customers now use a combination of both store and online when making a purchase.”

Earlier this month, John Lewis said it would reshape its business in response to the change in customer shopping habits:

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