Wednesday 24 March 2021 12:44 pm

John Lewis to permanently close eight stores, putting 1,465 jobs at risk

John Lewis has announced it will not reopen eight stores after lockdown restrictions are eased, putting almost 1,500 jobs at risk.

The retailer said the four department stores and four “At Home” branches are in locations that “can’t sustain a large store”, and will be permanently closed.

It will enter into consultation with the 1,465 employees affected by the closures, and will try to find them new jobs within the business.

John Lewis department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York will close, along with smaller At Home sites in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells. 

The stores were “financially challenged” before the pandemic and are no longer profitable.

Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Today’s announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected Partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years.

“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.”

The company also today confirmed plans to transfer the running of its Waitrose Distribution Centre in Leyland to XPO Logistics. 

Its remaining 34 John Lewis shops will reopen from 12 April, with the exception of Glasgow and Edinburgh which will relaunch from 26 April and 14 May respectively.

The announcement comes after John Lewis earlier this month revealed plans to close more stores this year as it posted a loss of £517m due to soaring Covid-related costs.

White said at the time that it did not expect to reopen all of its John Lewis shops at the end of lockdown, as she revealed that coronavirus costs reached £648m last year.