Cheyanne Greig-Andrews covers the recent announcement by John Lewis co. regarding their confirmed closure of 8 John Lewis locations.
The high-end department store John Lewis & Partners is among the many businesses having to make difficult decisions to sustain their future. After having deserted shop floors for months on end due to the lockdown restrictions, John Lewis has officially confirmed the closing of 8 of their locations.
John Lewis originated in 1864, with humble roots as a drapery shop on London’s famous Oxford Street. Oxford Street continues the legacy of John Lewis today, housing one of their biggest department store locations. With a fascinating history and roots ingrained in London’s retail market the news of the closures comes as a surprise for many.
The 8 stores that have been confirmed to close are: Birmingham, Watford, Croydon, Newbury, Swindon, Tamworth, and two of their airport outlet shops at Heathrow and St. Pancras. A rather predictable yet devastating blow to some of those local economies, former John Lewis boss and West Midlands mayor Andy Street, remarks the closure of the Birmingham location as a “dreadful mistake”.
According to Amalie Henden from Express News, The John Lewis Partnership said the decision was made to “secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs.” The closures will put 1,300 jobs at risk, although John Lewis’ Chairwoman, Sharon White, has stated that redundancies are an absolute last resort. She claims they will do everything they can to keep partners within the business.
There is still hope for John Lewis and their loyal customers. The stores that will be reopening as of July 30th are Aberdeen, Ashford, Brent Cross, Chichester, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading, Sheffield, White City Westfield, and the Swindon outlet. The company hopes that with the announced changes they can better meet their customer’s needs with their online shopping services as well.
The John Lewis closures are a reminder that even well-established businesses were not immune to the economic impact of the pandemic. With the current unpredictability of retail, the future of retail giants like John Lewis is yet to be determined. However, with life slowly returning to normal, and shoppers once again roaming the high streets, there is hope that these closures won’t loom over us for long.
Photograph via Unsplash @exileartisan