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John Lewis could convert 50% of its store space at Oxford Circus into offices

Lauretta Roberts
17 September 2020

John Lewis could convert 50% of its store space at its Oxford Street flagship store into offices.

Plans submitted to Westminster Council seek to convert three entire floors, currently housing childrenswear, electricals, kitchen and bathroom goods, as well as in-store dining, into office space for rent.

According to The Evening Standard, John Lewis would retain the lower three floors of the store for retail along with its sixth floor dining area. A new cycle parking area is planned in the lower basement.

The move is revealed as the retail partnership announced that pre-tax losses had hit £55m in the first six months of its financial year with sales up 1% to £5.56bn. Its sales performance was bolstered by a 73% leap in digital sales as consumers switched to e-commerce during and post-lockdown, but it estimated that it had lost £200m in sales due to lockdown.

Chairman Dame Sharon White said that e-commerce had accounted for 60% of total sales, as opposed to 40% before lockdown. Following lockdown the partnership has announced the permanent closure of eight of its 50 department stores, including a high profile store in Birmingham city centre which has only been open for five years.

A spokesperson for the partnership said no firm decisions have been made but any plans would look further to improve customers experience. "Oxford Street is our largest and oldest shop and has a surplus of non-selling space compared to our newer shops. We have therefore made a planning application for the upper floors of the shop, to give us greater flexibility on how we use this space more efficiently in future, with the potential to have office space at the top of the building," the spokesperson said.

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