// John Lewis preparing for a phased reopening after the government said non-essential shops could open again from June 15
// It did not confirm when all the John Lewis stores would reopen
// Preparations have been “informed” by social distancing measures at stablemate Waitrose
John Lewis Partnership has said it is preparing for a phased reopening of its department stores after the UK Government said non-essential shops can reopen from June 15.
The company did not confirm an exact opening date, nor did it confirm how many John Lewis stores would open again after reports emerged last month that it was “highly unlikely” all 50 would reopen and that discussions had started on which ones to close permanently.
Nonetheless, the partnership said its preparations to reopen John Lewis sites have been “informed” by social distancing measures at stablemate Waitrose, which have traded throughout the pandemic.
- Coronavirus: John Lewis reveals changes in shopping habits
- John Lewis may never reopen some stores post lockdown
- John Lewis hands near-£1m payout to former boss Paula Nickolds
John Lewis Partnership took the initiative to temporarily close its stores – for the first time ever – a few days before the government announced a nationwide lockdown March 24.
The government has now said department stores are among non-essential retailers that will be able to exit lockdown and open to customers from June 15.
John Lewis Partnership said it would reduce the number of entrances and cap the number of shoppers in its John Lewis stores as part of new safety measures.
It also said it would have “customer service hosts” who will be assigned to welcome customers, answer questions and manage queues in busy areas of shops.
In addition, John Lewis said it would reduce the availability of customer services, such as beauty services, which will no longer be offered, while fitting rooms will also be shut until further notice.
“Our plan sees us open our shops on a phased basis to enable us to test the changes we are introducing and ensure the best and safest customer and partner experience,” John Lewis Partnership said in a statement.
“The safety of our customers and partners will govern everything we do and we are prepared to readjust our plan and make changes as we go to make sure we get it absolutely right and continue adhering to evolving government guidelines.”
Last month, the retail group warned John Lewis annual sales could plunge by 35 per cent in a worst-case scenario as a result of the outbreak.
with PA Wires