JOHN Lewis has warned it could close more stores as it slumped to a £517million annual loss.
The retail giant today said it “does not expect” all of its department stores to reopen once coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased.
John Lewis has warned it could close more shops soonCredit: Pacific Coast News
The shop said its financial loss was mainly due to restructuring and redundancy costs from store closures, a shift to online shopping, and changes to head office operations.
It marks the latest blow to the Covid-battered high street, after industry experts warned last year that the pandemic had been the “worst time ever for retail”.
John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White said: “There is no getting away from the fact that some areas can no longer profitably sustain a John Lewis store.
“Regrettably, we do not expect to reopen all our John Lewis shops at the end of lockdown, which will also have implications for our supply chain.”
High street shops that have been hit by coronavirus
THE coronavirus crisis has been devastating for the already struggling UK high street.
Here’s a list of some of the shops that have had to shrink their number of stores, or close all their branches for good.
- Aldo – some stores shut
- Cath Kidston
- Dorothy Perkins
- Miss Selfridge
- Monsoon Accessorize – some stores shut
- John Lewis – some stores shut
- Topshop and Topman
Here’s what we know so far about which stores will close:
Which John Lewis stores will close?
John Lewis hasn’t confirmed which of its 42 shops could close after the lockdown rules are lifted.
The retail chain also hasn’t revealed how many jobs from its 80,000-strong workforce could be lost.
In its update today, John Lewis said it is in discussions with landlords and will confirm which stores will shut by the end of March.
It closed eight stores in July last year, in a move that put 1,300 jobs at risk.
The Sunday Times reported last month that another eight shops could go on top of this.
It comes after the John Lewis Partnership – which also owns posh supermarket Waitrose – confirmed it was scrapping its annual staff bonus for the first time in 67 years.
The staff bonus began in 1920 and was originally paid out in the form of stocks and shares in the company.
In 1970 it was converted to the cash bonus staff get today.
John Lewis said it is “committed” to restarting bonuses as soon as profits reach £150million.
It comes as the partnership is targeting savings of £300million a year by 2022.
Which John Lewis stores have already closed?
John Lewis has already closed eight stores in July last year.
Places that have shut include:
- Birmingham – department store
- Croydon – at home shop
- Heathrow – travel hub
- Newbury – at home shop
- St Pancras – travel hub
- Swindon – at home shop
- Tamworth – at home shop
- Watford – department store
Seperately, the group has also confirmed the closure of four Waitrose stores.
This includes stores in Caldicot, Ipswich, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.
It’s estimated that over 43,000 retail jobs have been axed since the start of coronavirus lockdown as high street struggles to survive.
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