The department store chain, John Lewis has confirmed plans to not reopen eight of its 42 UK stores when the current lockdown lifts on April 12th this year. The move will put more than 1,400 jobs at risk.
The retailer’s stores in Aberdeen, Sheffield, Peterborough, and York will remain closed, as well as four of its smaller ‘At Home’ stores in Tunbridge Wells, Ashford, Basingstoke, and Chester. The planned closures will threaten the future of a total of 1,465 roles with the firm.
The latest development echoes of similar actions taken by the department store chain when its kept eight other stores permanently closed after the first lockdown last year. As of April 12th this year, John Lewis’ estate of department stores will stand at 34.
John Lewis has pointed towards the ‘significant shift towards online shopping in recent years’ as the reasoning behind the latest closures, adding that the decision followed “substantial research to identify and cater for new customer shopping habits in different parts of the country.” According to the team, the eight stores were already “financially challenged prior to the pandemic.”
In a statement, the company said that it believes the online shopping trend “will not materially reverse” and that the performance of these eight stores “can be substantially improved.”
Previously, the group has voiced its expectations that at least three fifths of revenues will be generated online, even when shops are trading normally again.
“Having fewer bigger stores allows us to invest significantly to improve our remaining ones,” said the company. It will also test new, smaller, local shops along with stores within its Waitrose supermarkets.