John Lewis says it will permanently close eight of its stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.
Two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford are closing, as well as four At Home shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, and two travel hub outlets at Heathrow and St Pancras.
The John Lewis Partnership said the decision was made to ‘secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs’.
It said the eight shops were already ‘financially challenged’ before the pandemic, which has driven customers towards online shopping.
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The group estimated that between 60% and 70% of John Lewis sales will be made online this year and next, compared with 40% before the coronavirus crisis.
John Lewis Partnership chairwoman Sharon White said: ‘Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult and today’s announcement will come as very sad news to customers and partners.
‘However, 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.
‘Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many partners as possible within our business.’
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