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Friday, February 26, 2021

John Lewis considers closing more stores

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Shopper walking past John Lewis storefront

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John Lewis is considering more store closures as it tries to cut costs and adapt to the boom in online shopping.

Up to another eight department stores may permanently close, on top of the eight stores it closed last year, which included two small travel hub shops at Heathrow and St Pancras.

That could leave it with 34 stores, down from its current total of 42.

John Lewis has declined to comment on the potential move, which was first reported by the Sunday Times.

Online shift

Any closures would be another blow to the high street and town centres, which are already grappling with the fall-out from the collapse of Debenhams and Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia empire.

The rise in internet shopping, exacerbated by various lockdown measures amid coronavirus, has forced John Lewis to rethink how many stores it needs.

It already expects up to 70% of its sales will be online by 2025.

In July last year, John Lewis announced it was closing its stores in Birmingham, Croydon, Watford, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, as well as the smaller hubs at St Pancras and Heathrow, with the loss of 1,300 jobs.

In January, John Lewis said its Christmas trading had been better than anticipated and that it expected its full year profits to be ahead of its previous guidance of a small loss or a small profit.

Any announcement on further store closures could come next month, when the John Lewis Partnership, which includes Waitrose, announces its annual results on 11 March.

The last set of results showed a loss of £635m, and prompted it to cancel its annual staff bonus for the first time since 1953.

This post courtesy of uk-news

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