Covid lockdown UK: Business leaders say closure of John Lewis stores ‘devastating’ for High Street

John Lewis to close eight extra stores 

Store closures introduced yesterday: 

  • Aberdeen 
  • Ashford (At Home)
  • Basingstoke (At Home)
  • Chester (At Home)
  • Peterborough
  • Sheffield 
  • Tunbridge  Wells (At Home) 
  • York 

Store closures introduced final July 

  • Birmingham
  • Croydon
  • Watford
  • Newbury
  • Swindon
  • Tamworth
  • St Pancras 
  • Heathrow

MPs at this time referred to as the everlasting closure of eight John Lewis stores ‘devastating’ for the long run of the High Street, as business leaders admitted they’re ‘shellshocked’ by a transfer which has put greater than 1,400 jobs in danger. 

Yesterday the 157-year-old retail big stated will probably be shutting 4 division stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York, and one other 4 At Home stores in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells.

Five of these outlets have been opened for the reason that 2008-09 monetary disaster, whereas the opposite three are large division stores which were on the coronary heart of three large cities – Aberdeen, Peterborough and Sheffield – for many many years. 

In January the John Lewis Partnership recorded its first ever pre-tax loss of £517million throughout the pandemic, having beforehand introduced it will be closing eight stores together with its flagship web site in Grand Central, Birmingham. 

Those cities and cities now face an epic battle to plug the gaping gap left by John Lewis of their communities, on their excessive streets and of their jobs markets. 

In Peterborough, the 125,000 sq ft retailer in Queensgate buying centre – which opened in 1982 and is a component of a posh owned by Invesco Retail Estate –  was the most important closure introduced by the John Lewis Partnership yesterday. 

Shabina Qayyum, the shadow cupboard member for funding for Peterborough City Council, stated: ‘This is devastating information not solely for the lots of of workers however for the center of retail in Peterborough. Clearly this can be a watershed for retail.’

Paul Bristow, the Conservative MP for Peterborough, claimed he had urged Dame Sharon White, chairwoman of John Lewis, to not shut the shop. 

‘I’m extraordinarily dissatisfied with this determination,’ he instructed the Peterborough Telegraph. ‘Dame Sharon referred to as me this morning, shortly after workers have been knowledgeable. 

‘I requested her how she might justify this closure given the company’s funding within the retailer and the alternatives inside our metropolis.’ 

In Aberdeen, the 102,000 sq ft retailer which opened in 1989 was a serious voice within the metropolis’s £150million regeneration plans. Now, the closest retailer for locals is 127 miles away in Edinburgh, whereas a Waitrose different is in Stirling, 120 miles away.

Adrian Watson, chief government of Aberdeen Inspired, the business enchancment district, stated of the transfer to close the outlet: ‘I’m a bit shellshocked.’

He instructed the Times that the plans must be dramatically reworked, including: ‘People travelled from lengthy distances throughout the Highlands and northeast to return to John Lewis, it introduced folks into the town. 

‘This will likely be an enormous problem for the town centre.’

Dr Amna Khan, a senior lecturer in client behaviour and retailing on the Manchester Metropolitan Business School, at this time warned that the closure of a number of main John Lewis websites may have a ‘domino impact’ on different companies.  

Peterborough’s John Lewis retailer won’t reopen when non-essential retail is allowed to return

John Lewis' store in Aberdeen will close, but the retail giant confirmed shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh would reopen in April and May, in line with Government guidelines

John Lewis’ retailer in Aberdeen will shut, however the retail big confirmed outlets in Glasgow and Edinburgh would reopen in April and May, consistent with Government tips

In January the group recorded its first loss. John Lewis in Sheffield is another casualty

In January the group recorded its first loss. John Lewis in Sheffield is one other casualty

Speaking on the Today programme, she warned that the disappearance of ‘vacation spot stores’ like John Lewis will cut back ‘foot circulate’ on the native excessive road as an entire and has a ‘wider, lasting affect on the neighborhood’. 

The business analyst urged cash-strapped native councils to ‘reinvent’ their excessive streets by shifting away from retailing and making them ‘multifunctional’.

Asked if the closures will likely be a ‘large blow’, Ms Khan stated: ‘I assume it actually does. When a division retailer like John Lewis closes, it has an enormous knock-on implication on different retailers round that business as a result of the foot circulate for that vacation spot retailer additionally has a ripple impact on different stores inside that native space. 

‘So it s a domino impact, and when a retailer closes, it does not simply impact the workers or the shareholders, it has a wider lasting affect on the neighborhood too.’

She went on: ‘What we’re seeing is as these stores are leaving the excessive road, there is a want for reinvention of the excessive road, we want folks to greater than store.

‘What we want is excessive streets which can be multifunctional, that supply leisure, and employment, well being, artwork and tradition and are very important to the communities for which they exist. And sure, vacation spot stores like John Lewis are an integral half of that.’

Put to her that councils will discover it tough to seek out the money to reinvent their city centres when their funds are stretched, she stated: ‘Their [council] funds will likely be very very stretched, however with many stores leaving these locations, what we have to do is as a neighborhood create these excessive streets, once more, which can be multifunctional, that do not simply deal with excessive road retailing.

‘So you’ll be able to have for instance a gymnasium which may wish to come to the excessive road, you might need leisure actions, different actions – however there must be a roadmap by the council and different policymakers round that to have the ability to facilitate the rebuilding of a multifunctional excessive road.’  

Among eight sites to close are four John Lewis at Home stores, including one in Basingstoke

Among eight websites to shut are 4 John Lewis at Home stores, together with one in Basingstoke

Ashford's John Lewis at Home store, found just off the M20, will also close

Ashford’s John Lewis at Home retailer, discovered simply off the M20, can even shut

The company plans to close bigger stores in order to 'invest significantly to improve our remaining ones'. The improvements will cost eight stores, including in Tunbridge Wells

The company plans to shut greater stores so as to ‘make investments considerably to enhance our remaining ones’. The enhancements will price eight stores, together with in Tunbridge Wells 

Figures from January show how retail sales had plummeted again, but had not reached lows seen at the start of Covid-19 pandemic last March

Figures from January present how retail gross sales had plummeted once more, however had not reached lows seen initially of Covid-19 pandemic final March

In Sheffield, the closure of the shop, established as a Cole Brothers by John and Thomas Cole in 1847 and was rebranded as a John Lewis in 2002, has sparked upset.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, stated the transfer to close down the shop was ‘desperately disappointing’. He added: ‘I feel John Lewis has a deserved repute previously for taking care of their workers, taking care of their clients and never being the standard kind of company. I feel that repute now could be in tatters.’ 

The metropolis council, which took over John Lewis’ lease final year for £3million and agreed to pay for a refurbishment of the shop, had tried to steer John Lewis to retain its retailer, which is a serious attraction for customers and helps it to compete with Meadowhall buying centre on the outskirts. 

Following yesterday’s announcement, Sheffield Heeley Labour MP Louise Haigh stated on Facebook: ‘This will likely be a hammer blow for Sheffield and depart a gaping gap in our metropolis centre. John Lewis is a big draw, and the closure may have a knock-on impact for companies throughout Sheffield.

‘We cannot proceed with a state of affairs the place 5 US tech companies account for £1.3billion in lost company tax each year, whereas excessive road outlets pay business charges beneath a system that hasn’t been reformed for years.

‘The Government are washing their fingers of any accountability for reviving our excessive streets, and making a degree enjoying subject for native companies. It’s the communities and staff who depend on them which can be paying the worth.’

John Lewis in York, pictured, is one of two Yorkshire outlets that have been cut

John Lewis in York, pictured, is one of two Yorkshire shops which were lower

John Lewis at Home in Chester will also close. Earlier this month the company told its partners they would not receive an annual bonus for the first time in 68 years

John Lewis at Home in Chester can even shut. Earlier this month the company instructed its companions they might not obtain an annual bonus for the primary time in 68 years 

John Lewis: From a small store on Oxford Street to 1 of Britain’s greatest retailers 

John Lewis has develop into one of essentially the most recognisable manufacturers on Britain’s excessive streets with the company additionally proudly owning grocery store big Waitrose.

But its historical past might be traced again to 1964, when founder John Lewis opened a small store on London’s Oxford Street.

Over time it expanded, and the Lewis household bought Peter Jones, a business in Sloane Square, earlier than management of the company was handed to the founder’s son, John Spedan Lewis.

Spedan Lewis wished to ‘create a method of doing business that was each business, permitting it to maneuver shortly and keep forward in a highly-competitive business, and democratic, giving each Partner a voice within the business they co-own’, in accordance with the model’s web site.

As a outcome, all members of workers are known as ‘companions’ and the company is run by a belief on their behalf. 

John Lewis opened as a small shop in Oxford Street in 1864

John Lewis opened as a small store in Oxford Street in 1864

The Oxford Street store with a festive display in 1936

The Oxford Street retailer with a festive show in 1936

Among its eye-catching schemes is a six-month depart for workers who’ve labored on the company for 25 years, an concept that was began in 1979. 

In 1920 the agency supplied its first ever bonus to all of its workers, and 9 years later arrange a medical service offering free healthcare for all companions – 19 years earlier than the NHS was based. 

By 1940 the company had expanded additional, buying Waitrose and 15 branches of the collapsing Selfridge Provincial Stores Group, by 1960 it was in a position to reopen a a lot bigger store on Oxford Street.

In 1963, Spedan Lewis died. Seven years later the company issued its annual bonuses to workers in money, moderately than in shares and money. 

Stanley Carter, the ex-managing director of the department store on London's Oxford Street, pictured in August 1965

Stanley Carter, the ex-managing director of the division retailer on London’s Oxford Street, pictured in August 1965

At the flip of the century, John Lewis was getting ready to maneuver on-line, launching its web site in 2001, whereas utilizing Waitrose to provide on-line grocery store Ocado. 

In latest years it has develop into identified for its iconic Christmas adverts, the primary one being launched in 2007. 

Changing calls for from customers and the decline of the excessive has had a unfavorable affect on John Lewis’ stores. Last year it introduced eight outlets have been to shut, together with a flagship web site in Birmingham.

An additional 1,500 jobs have been put in danger, because it plans to shut one other eight stores in Kent, York, Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Aberdeen.

It plans to depend on smaller Waitrose stores that stock some John Lewis gadgets, whereas additionally profiting on-line by increasing its click on and gather service. 

Local residents instructed BBC Radio 4’s Today programme they have been ‘actually dissatisfied’ by the information, with one lady saying she was ‘gutted’ as a result of she liked ‘perusing all of the perfumes and attempting the make-up’. 

A passer-by instructed the present: ‘Really dissatisfied for the town, actually dissatisfied for all of the people who find themselves going to lose their jobs. John Lewis has been one thing that is been so vital to us, I bear in mind my mum taking me to John Lewis. 

‘It’s a vacation spot retailer for the town. I simply assume it is an actual disgrace.’

A male shopper stated he was unsurprised, commenting ‘there usually are not many individuals in there [John Lewis] now like there was once’. 

A petition to John Lewis Partnership urging that it hold the Sheffield retailer open has already been signed greater than 6,000 occasions. 

The petition states: ‘With Sheffield’s coronary heart of the town redevelopment plan, a closure of this proportion will set again the project massively. As a Sheffield resident I do know the primary cause I head into the city centre and to not Meadowhall is John Lewis and now that it is closed I can not see that individuals will select city over Meadowhall. 

‘This is a big setback for Sheffield’s improvement to develop into a serious metropolis centre. Help Sheffield develop and signal this petition to cease John Lewis Sheffield closing, and in flip, cease the town of Sheffield falling into stagnation.’ 

In Peterborough, shopper James Morrell stated goes to John Lewis to have a look at the ‘tech’ and admitted will probably be a disgrace to not see it reopen after lockdown.

‘This is just about all we have got in Peterborough actually, it is our most important promoting level,’ he instructed the BBC. Jim Edwards, who runs a sandwich bar in Peterborough, says the closure of the ‘large outlets’ impacts the smaller ones, too.      

The retail big instructed workers this morning that it plans to shut the branches after Covid lockdown measures raise, because it undergoes a serious shift in technique to adapt to altering buying habits. 

The eight outlets set to shut comprise 4 division stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York, and 4 At Home stores in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells.

It has confirmed its remaining 32 branches will reopen on April 12 – when England is anticipated to permit non-essential retail to reopen following the lockdown. 

The remaining two, Glasgow and Edinburgh, will reopen on April 26 and May 14, consistent with Scotland’s Covid restrictions.  

For the primary time in practically 70 years, companions weren’t supplied bonuses because the Covid-19 lockdown put added stress on the excessive road retailer.

It determined to not reopen eight stores after the primary lockdown, at a loss of round 1,300 jobs. 

The retailer introduced yesterday’s cuts because it seems to be to ‘reshape its business to how its clients more and more wish to store in-store and on-line.’

‘At Home’ stores are being shut in favour of close by Waitrose supermarkets, with the introduction of John Lewis buying areas within the grocery store anticipated to reach by the autumn.  

Former workers say they’re ‘totally heartbroken’ by the announcement.

The eight outlets recognized for closure embrace 4 ‘At Home’ outlets in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells and 4 division stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York. 

John Lewis Partnership stated on Wednesday that it’s going to additionally switch the operations of its Waitrose distribution centre in Leyland, Lancashire, to XPO Logistics.

It stated 436 Waitrose workers on the web site will likely be transferred to XPO.

John Lewis has been buoyed by hovering on-line gross sales in latest months however these weren’t enough to offset its decline in retailer gross sales because it tumbled to a £517 million pre-tax loss for the year to January.

It was the primary loss within the group’s historical past relationship again to 1864. 

Last summer time the company introduced it was closing eight stores throughout the nation in Birmingham, Croydon, Watford, Newbury, Swindon, Tamworth, St Pancras and Heathrow, costing round 1,300 folks their jobs. 

None of the websites reopened after the primary lockdown, and leases have been returned to landlords at six of the outlets, with simply Swindon and Tamworth left. 

Gutted customers have expressed their upset on the announcement. 

A former worker on the York retailer wrote: ‘Incredibly unhappy being a former companion in John Lewis and being half of the senior crew in York, ideas are with everybody impacted.’ 

One Aberdeen shopper wrote: ‘That’s large for the city centre’. 

Another exasperated  shopper stated: ‘F*** me, is there truly wherever left to purchase s*** within the city?”  A former employee on the Aberdeen retailer wrote: ‘I’m actually and totally heartbroken over the information. 

‘John Lewis helped form me into the individual I’m at this time. I made some buddies for life over the 4 years I labored right here and I’m so grateful for the time I shared there. 

‘My coronary heart aches for each my former colleagues and people who joined after me. This metropolis has lost an amazing place.’ 

Sharing the information that lots of might lose their job, John Lewis wrote on Twitter: ‘Some of our stores could also be closing, however there are a lot of methods to proceed buying with us’. 


Gutted social media users (tweets above) expressed their upset at the announcement

Gutted social media customers (tweets above) expressed their upset on the announcement

Retail massacre: How the pandemic modified Britain’s High Street

The High Street has been arduous hit by the coronavirus pandemic as folks have been instructed to remain inside for a number of nationwide lockdowns. 

High Street stalwarts comparable to Debenhams, WH Smith and Clarks didn’t escape the massacre. 

In August 228-year-old business WH Smith stated a dramatic fall in gross sales might power them to axe round 11 per cent of its workforce.

It was a grim announcement for an already hammered excessive road after lots of of jobs have been additionally lower at excessive road style chain M&Co.

The chain additionally introduced the closure of 47 stores, taking the quantity of staff going through redundancy consequently of the Covid disaster above 100,000. 

Within one week over the summer time 651 roles have been lost at Byron, 1,700 put in danger at DW Sports, 878 lost at Hays Travel and 1,100 put in danger at Pizza Express.

John Lewis lower an extra 1,500 jobs, including to the 1,300 axed when it completely shut eight stores in July.

The retail big was extensively seen as a benchmark for High Street efficiency within the UK. 

Lloyds Bank additionally introduced their determination to make 1,070 extra workers redundant on prime of the 865 earlier within the pandemic.

Within the identical 24 hours Marks & Spencer additionally reported its first loss in its 94 years as a listed company. The company had already lower 8,000 workers since March.

And Sainsbury’s additionally confirmed it will lower round 3,500 jobs throughout its Argos stores and grocery store meat, fish and deli counters, whereas Clarks footwear put the roles of all 4,000 of its retailer workers on discover as half of its battle for survival.

Though outlets are anticipated to reopen on April 12, The British Retail Consortium has warned non-essential stores like John Lewis have lost greater than £22billion over the course of the pandemic  

In February Ms Dickinson warned that daily a store stays closed ‘will increase the possibilities that it’s going to by no means open once more’.

She stated: ‘The price of lost gross sales to non-food stores throughout lockdown is now over £22billion and counting. Every day {that a} store stays closed will increase the possibilities that it’s going to by no means open once more – costing jobs and damaging native communities.’

In January John Lewis introduced a pre-tax loss of £517m, the identical month that retail gross sales plunged by 8 per cent in contrast with December.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated retail gross sales volumes dived 8.2 per cent final month towards December 2020 after non-essential retailers shut their doorways to clients.

It was considerably worse than analyst expectations, with a consensus of economists predicting a 2.5 per cent decline for the month.

Meanwhile, a Labour MP has described the choice to shut the John Lewis retailer in Sheffield as a ‘hammer blow’ to the town. 

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh stated on Facebook: ‘This will likely be a hammer blow for Sheffield and depart a gaping gap in our metropolis centre.

‘John Lewis is a big draw, and the closure may have a knock-on impact for companies throughout Sheffield.

‘We cannot proceed with a state of affairs the place 5 US tech companies account for £1.3 billion in lost company tax each year, whereas excessive road outlets pay business charges beneath a system that hasn’t been reformed for years.

‘The Government are washing their fingers of any accountability for reviving our excessive streets, and making a degree enjoying subject for native companies. It’s the communities and staff who depend on them which can be paying the worth.’

It is simply six months since Sheffield City Council agreed a multimillion-pound take care of the division retailer company to restructure the lease of the landmark Nineteen Sixties Cole Brothers constructing, reverse City Hall and the conflict memorial.

The deal, which included plans for a serious refurbishment of the Barker’s Pool retailer, was struck after the location was confirmed as a lynchpin of the Heart of the City II scheme – an ongoing £480 million funding in a basic regeneration of Sheffield metropolis centre.

Nalin Seneviratne, the council’s director of metropolis centre improvement, stated: ‘It’s no secret that top streets throughout the nation have confronted challenges over the previous decade, and no-one might have ready for the impacts of the worldwide pandemic.

‘But Sheffield is a resilient metropolis, and we have already got in place formidable plans for a metropolis centre that competes on a world stage.

‘Our Heart of the City plans will ship between 5,500 and seven,000 jobs, create social areas, properties, showcase our unimaginable tradition, ship eating places, workspace, artistic hubs – with a deal with socialising, alongside a unbelievable retail providing that helps new and current companies.’

Non-food outlets have been the toughest hit throughout the pandemic, with supermarkets and on-line retailers truly seeing some minor development, in accordance with ONS figures from earlier this year.

Experts say corporations have been compelled to ‘adapt’ to measures that  noticed a dramatic drop in retail spending initially of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

John Lewis Partnership advised earlier this month that it will announce the closures. A spokesman stated: ‘We will enter into session with the 1,465 affected Partners about our proposals. 

‘Should we proceed, we are going to make each effort to seek out different roles within the Partnership for as many Partners as potential.

‘At the Partnership’s full year outcomes earlier this month, we stated that we are going to reshape our business in response to how our clients more and more wish to store in-store and on-line. 

‘This follows substantial analysis to establish and cater for new buyer buying habits in numerous elements of the nation. 

‘As half of this, we will sadly not profitably maintain a big John Lewis retailer in some places the place we do not need sufficient clients, which is ensuing within the proposed closures. 

‘The eight outlets have been financially challenged previous to the pandemic.’  

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