John Lewis has confirmed that a further eight stores are set to close and will not reopen their doors after lockdown eases. The move also puts 1,465 jobs at risk of redundancy.
The further store closures are in the addition to eight already announced in 2020.
In July last year, the retailer announced it was closing its stores in Birmingham, Croydon, Watford, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, as well as its smaller hubs at St Pancras and Heathrow.
At the beginning of this year, John Lewis said its Christmas trading had been better than anticipated and that it expected its full year of profits to be ahead of its previous guidance of a small loss or a small profit.
However today, the retailer has confirmed that a further eight stores are to close permanently.
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“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.”
John Lewis continues to trade as normal online and will reopen all remaining stores when the lockdown eases.
Pippa Wicks, Executive Director for John Lewis, said: “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.”
This means that 34 stores will start reopening from April 12, with the exception of Glasgow, which will reopen on April 26, and Edinburgh on May 14.
John Lewis has said that it will enter into consultation about the 1,465 affected jobs and work to find alternative roles for as many staff members as possible.
The retailer is also trialling the introduction of John Lewis shopping areas in Waitrose stores and will also be testing new formats of smaller, local neighbourhood shops offering the best of John Lewis.
The retailer is introducing the new shopping areas in Godalming, Horley, Wallingford, Lincoln, and Lymington.