John Lewis eyes further store closures

  • John Lewis reportedly looking to shut down another 8 stores
  • It follows a similar move last summer, which saw the loss of 1300 jobs and reduced its store estate to 42
  • John Lewis has not commented, but details could be revealed in its full year results on March 11, 2021

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette

John Lewis is reportedly looking to undergo a fresh round of store closures as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact bricks-and-mortar retail.

According to The Sunday Times, the department store chain is considering eight stores for closure as parent company John Lewis Partnership pushes on with a strategy to downsize its estate and become more digital.

The move would come after after John Lewis shut down eight stores last summer, a move that reduced its store portfolio to 42 sites.

John Lewis Partnership has not yet commented on the report.

However, it’s thought that the firm could reveal details on the new round of store closures and/or further property plans March 11, when it publishes its full-year results.

Last year, John Lewis cut 1500 head office jobs while an additional 1300 were lost due to the eight store closures over summer.

Among the stores that shut were those located in Heathrow Airport, St Pancras International Station, Watford, Croydon, Swindon, and Birmingham, which had only opened in 2015.

Meanwhile for the interim period ending July 25 last year, the John Lewis Partnership posted made a pre-tax loss of GBP 635 million – a dramatic plunge compared to the GBP 192 half-year profit it recorded the same time the year prior.

The firm had also slashed the value of its stores by GBP 470 million and scrapped its annual bonus for staff, the first time it has done so since 1953.

However, last month John Lewis reported early signs of progress when it raised its full-year profit forecast in the wake of the peak Black Friday and Christmas trading season.