John Lewis will not reopen all of its stores
Having announced a further 10 store reopenings this morning, it has been revealed that John Lewis will keep some stores closed permanently.
Speculation mounted over the course of lockdown that the department store chain would not reopen all 50 of its stores and its chairman Dame Sharon White has confirmed the news in a letter to staff.
Some 32 stores are open or are set to reopen with further reopenings coming over the summer but Dame Sharon has said that an unspecified number will remain closed.
In the letter, which was seen by the Evening Standard, White said: “The difficult reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now. As difficult as it is, we now know that it is highly unlikely that we will reopen all our John Lewis stores. Regrettably, it is likely that there will implications for some Partners’ jobs. We are in active discussions with landlords about ending some leases and renegotiating others to make the terms more flexible.”
The partnership will also close one of two of its head offices in London's Victoria which is usually home to 450 staff. “We are rethinking our head office space to cement more flexible working that has become a feature of the crisis, and will be relinquishing Partnership House in London,” White said in the letter. An adjacent building which houses 2,400 staff will remain open.
White has also confirmed the the partnership will be axing its staff bonus net year, having paid out 2%, a 67-year low, this year just ahead of the Coronavirus crisis.
Yesterday the company announced a partnership with tech group Wipro which will result in 244 staff at an IT centre in Bracknell being transferred to the Indian company.
Recently the department store announced the appointment of a new executive director to lead the John Lewis business through the post-COVID era. Pippa Wicks, former deputy CEO of Co-op, is set to join in August.
The 32 John Lewis stores confirmed as open or set to reopen are:
Kingston upon Thames
Oxford Street, London
Peter Jones, London