John Lewis announces eight further stores will not reopen after lockdown putting 1,465 jobs at risk
- John Lewis puts nearly 1,500 jobs at risk as it prepares to shut eight of its stores
- Retailer is closing shops in Kent, Yorkshire, Aberdeen, Cheshire and Hampshire
- Another store in Northamptonshire will also close, while 34 will remain open
John Lewis has announced eight stores will not reopen after lockdown, putting 1,465 jobs at risk.
The retail gianrt has announced it plans to close shops in Kent, Yorkshire, Aberdeen, Cheshire, Hampshire and Northamptonshire.
It has confirmed its remaining 34 shops will reopen on April 12, except for Glasgow’s, which will reopen on April 26 and Edinburgh’s on May 14, subject to Government guidance in England and Scotland.
In January the group recorded its first loss in its 157-year history.
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.
John Lewis Partnership said on Wednesday that it will also transfer the operations of its Waitrose distribution centre in Leyland, Lancashire, to XPO Logistics.
It said 436 Waitrose staff at the site will be transferred to XPO.
John Lewis has been buoyed by soaring online sales in recent months but these were not sufficient to offset its decline in store sales as it tumbled to a £517 million pre-tax loss for the year to January.
Earlier this month, the John Lewis Partnership confirmed it would shut more sites and said its partners would not receive an annual bonus for the first time in 68 years.
A Johns Lewis spokesman said: ‘We will enter into consultation with the 1,465 affected Partners about our proposals. Should we proceed, we will make every effort to find alternative roles in the Partnership for as many Partners as possible.
‘At the Partnership’s full year results earlier this month, we said that we will reshape our business in response to how our customers increasingly want to shop in-store and online.
‘This follows substantial research to identify and cater for new customer shopping habits in different parts of the country.
‘As part of this, we can unfortunately no longer profitably sustain a large John Lewis store in some locations where we do not have enough customers, which is resulting in the proposed closures. The eight shops were financially challenged prior to the pandemic.
‘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.’