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John Lewis announces eight more stores will not reopen after Lockdown 3

Tom Bottomley
24 March 2021

John Lewis has today confirmed it is not planning to reopen eight of its 42 stores after lockdown is lifted, putting nearly 1,500 jobs at risk as it “rebalances its store estate to reflect how customers want to shop.”

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.

The latest closures come after John Lewis permanently shut eight of its stores in 2020 amid the huge shift to online shopping - accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The remaining 34 John Lewis shops will reopen from 12 April, 2021, subject to government guidance, with the exception of Glasgow, which will reopen from 26 April, and Edinburgh, which will reopen on 14 May.

In light of the announced closures, John Lewis said in a statement that it will “enter into consultation with the 1,465 affected partners about its proposals,” and will “make every effort to find alternative roles in the Partnership for as many partners as possible.”

John Lewis believes the shift to online shopping “will not materially reverse,” and it does not think the performance of the eight stores set for permanent closure could be substantially improved.

The company expects 60% to 70% of John Lewis sales to be made online in the future, with nearly 50% of its customers now using a combination of both store and online when making a purchase.

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “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, Executive Director for John Lewis, added: “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.”

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