// John Lewis signs new 20-year lease with Sheffield City Council
// Agreement includes plans for a refurbishment, details of which are currently under review
// John Lewis said work would likely commence in mid-2021 and the shop would remain open throughout
John Lewis has agreed a new 20-year lease with Sheffield City Council which includes plans for a refurbishment of the shop in the heart of the city.
The department store has had a presence in Sheffield since the advent of WWII, having originally acquired the Cole Brothers site from Selfridges Provincial Stores group.
The new lease agreement includes plans for a refurbishment, details of which are currently under review.
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John Lewis said work would likely commence in mid-2021 and the shop would remain open throughout.
The new lease forms part of the Sheffield City Council’s Heart of the City II plans, which has seen investment from the council to progress the major re-shaping of Sheffield city centre.
“Shops continue to play a crucial role in our brand story, alongside a strong ecommerce offering,” John Lewis Partnership property director Chris Harris said.
“Our focus is on ensuring that we have the right space in the right locations where our customers want to shop.
“We have had a presence in Sheffield for over 70 years and we have a loyal customer base in the city.
“As such, we are delighted to have agreed a new lease with Sheffield City Council and look forward to continuing to serve our Sheffield customers.”
The news comes after John Lewis Partnership chair Dame Sharon White recently revealed plans for a major shake-up of its business strategy, which includes a “rebalance” of the partnership’s store estate and a “digital-first” approach in department stores.
In her letter sent to 80,000 John Lewis and Watrose staff in late July, White also outlined other strategic steps such as a reduction of head office costs, a focus on home and nursery, providing John Lewis Home products within Waitrose stores, and working with third parties on private and affordable rental housing.
She said the aim was to help the John Lewis Partnership flourish after the coronavirus pandemic brought about new challenges.
Meanwhile earlier this month, the partnership permanently shut down eight John Lewis stores that have not yet reopened since lockdown restrictions were eased in mid-June.
The move placed 1300 jobs at risk of redundancy, and leaves John Lewis with 42 stores, as opposed to 50 before the lockdown.