British fashion brand John Lewis has announced the closure of 8 of its 50 stores.
These include the large outlets in Birmingham and Watford, four small home stores in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth and two outlets in travel hubs at Heathrow and St. Pancras station in London.
What’s worrying is that the Birmingham and Watford alone will result in the loss of around 1,300 jobs.
As per a statement by the company, these stores have not been doing well financially even before the pandemic started. Also, most of the sales have been shifted to online during the lockdown period.
Here it is important to note that the online channels contributed to around 40 per cent of the retail sale, which the company expects can be around 60 to 70 per cent this year and next.
It further said that the profit has gone down by almost 65 per cent in the year to January.
Sharon White, the chairman of the department stores’ parent group the John Lewis Partnership, which is owned by its staff, known as partners, said: “We believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the partnership and continue to meet the needs of our customers, however and wherever they want to shop.
Furthermore, the company would take responsibility and seek to find alternative job for the ones who were working in the permanently closed store. It has planned to contribute up to £3,000 towards retraining via a recognised qualification or course for up to 2 years for any partner with 2 years’ service or more.
Moreover, it has confirmed re-reopening of its nine shops that had closed because of the pandemic and would re-open on 30 July. These include Aberdeen, Ashford, Brent Cross, Chichester, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading, Sheffield and White City Westfield. Leicester will also reopen when the local lockdown is lifted, taking the number of reopened John Lewis shops to 42.