The John Lewis Partnership has revealed the locations of eight stores due to permanently close as it ploughs on with a radical shake-up of its operations.
John Lewis stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York will stay shut, as will four ‘At Home’ shops in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells.
The radical move puts 1,465 jobs at risk, with the group saying it hopes to be able to redeploy as many staff as possible.
Closures: The John Lewis Partnership has revealed the locations of eight stores due to permanently close
Going: The John Lewis department store in York is shutting for good
No more: This John Lewis shop in Sheffield will stay permanently closed
Radical plans: The eight John Lewis store closures put over 1,400 jobs at risk
The York John Lewis site only opened in 2014 and in 2019 the company spent around £21million upgrading its Peterborough store.
The group announced last July it was closing John Lewis stores in Birmingham, Croydon, Watford, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, as well as the smaller hubs at St Pancras station and Heathrow, with the loss of 1,300 jobs.
In November last year, the retailer also revealed it was cutting 1,500 head office jobs in a bid to cut costs and return to profit.
In a statement today the partnership said: ‘We will enter into consultation with the 1,465 affected Partners about our proposals. Should we proceed, we will make every effort to find alternative roles in the Partnership for as many Partners as possible.
‘At the Partnership’s full year results earlier this month, we said that we will reshape our business in response to how our customers increasingly want to shop in-store and online.’
‘This follows substantial research to identify and cater for new customer shopping habits in different parts of the country.
‘As part of this, we can unfortunately no longer profitably sustain a large John Lewis store in some locations where we do not have enough customers, which is resulting in the proposed closures. The eight shops were financially challenged prior to the pandemic.
The group said it did not believe the eight stores due to close stood no real chance of ‘substantially’ improving their financial performance.
On a mission: John Lewis Partnership boss Sharon White has huge plans for the retailer
Over the next few years, the retailer thinks around 60 to 70 per cent of John Lewis sales will be made online. It added: ‘Nearly 50% of our customers now use a combination of both store and online when making a purchase.’
Earlier this month the John Lewis Partnership revealed it slumped to a £517million loss over the past year and warned that more store closures were on the way.
Without Government support, the John Lewis Partnership said it would have had to undergo an ‘even bigger restructuring’, putting even more jobs at risk.
At Home closures: This John Lewis ‘At Home’ store in Chester is staying shut for good
The retailer said it wants to save £300million a year by 2022/23, but it will also plough £800million into its ‘turnaround’ plans this year, which includes a restructuring.
The business wants to be generating a profit of around £400million by the end of 2026. A bonus for partners will not start being repaid until profits reach around £150million.
The group said its latest annual loss emerged as a result of ‘substantial exceptional costs’, namely the write down in the value of John Lewis shops ‘owing to the pronounced shift to online’, as well as restructuring and redundancy costs from store closures and head office changes.
In a results call with the media, the retailer said its John Lewis stores suffered a £190million drop in trading operating profits, with like-for-like sales flat.
Having been able to stay open throughout the pandemic, Waitrose saw its operating profit rise to £1.1billion over the past year.
Bosses said the group forked out £65million in Covid-related costs last year, with £25million shelled out for partner sickness.
In September, the John Lewis Partnership announced that it was axing its partner bonus for the first time since 1953. This emerged as the group posted a stinging half-year loss of £635million, against a profit of £146million by the same point a year earlier.
Ms White said on a media call that the past year had thrown up a ‘uniquely volatile environment’, meaning it could not provide a forecast for profit in the year ahead.
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