Another High End British Retail Empire Crumbles

AFTER serving the British public since 1864 The John Lewis Partnership has announced massive job losses and store closures.

Department store chain John Lewis will close eight of its shops and not reopen them after lockdown – putting 1,300 jobs at risk. The employee-owned business said the closures come after the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the shift from in-store shopping to online.

The department store chain has said it will shut two department stores in Birmingham and Watford, four smaller ‘At Home’ shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, as well as outlets at Heathrow Airport and St Pancras station in London.

Each of the stores had been struggling financially before the pandemic, John Lewis said, with problems exacerbated as people rapidly shifted to shopping online.

Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult and today’s announcement will come as very sad news to customers and partners.
”However, we believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the partnership – and continue to meet the needs of our customers however and wherever they want to shop.

“Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many partners as possible within our business.”

Too little too late?

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak snubbed the new voucher scheme designed to boost Britain’s high streets and save retail chains from collapse. The so-called ‘£500 shopping initiative’ was put forward by think-tank the Resolution Foundation on Sunday to help restart the economy following the pandemic, would that have helped John Lewis a little, we will never know.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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