John Lewis boss halts store closure programme

John Lewis Partnership Pippa Wicks
Pippa Wicks said John Lewis does not have any more "proposed closures"
// John Lewis said it will not close any more stores
// The announcement comes after John Lewis recently revealed plans to close 8 stores
// John Lewis has cut the number of shops from 51 to 34 since the pandemic struck

John Lewis department store boss Pippa Wicks has said the business will not close any more shops and defended its strategy.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the retailer unveiled plans to shut eight outlets.

Wicks said John Lewis does not have any more “proposed closures” as it “would not be appropriate for customers or partners”.


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She added that there would be queues outside some John Lewis shops when they reopen for the first time in over four months today as the government eases Covid-19 restrictions in England and Wales.

John Lewis has cut the number of shops from 51 to 34 since the pandemic began, putting almost 3000 jobs at risk.

The eight most recent closures were announced last month, leaving cities including Peterborough, York, Sheffield and Aberdeen with vast empty spaces in retail centres.

Wicks said the partnership “thinks stores are really important, but we need to have well-invested stores in the right place”.

“We’ve got to make sure the whole partnership survives and unfortunately the stores proposed for closure were not financially viable over the next few years and were unprofitable before the pandemic,” she said.

At least 40 per cent of John Lewis sales were online prior to the pandemic, but this has since risen to between 60 per cent and 70 per cent.

“Ten years ago the belief was you needed a store to function online and get that brand awareness, but that’s not the case anymore — people just shop online anyway, new brands launch online and that’s all they have,” Wicks said.

Meanwhile, John Lewis released an own brand which ensures “quality and style at everyday prices”. The new Anyday brand, which will also be sold online, will be John Lewis’ “most affordable” range yet.

The collection comprises of 2400 products and includes homewares, technology, baby care and baby clothing. A further 1000 products will be added this autumn when the brand is extended to other categories.

John Lewis said Anyday prices are on average, 20 per cent lower than existing own-brand prices, while some are 40 per cent cheaper.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I personally think good. But I also think the current store closures should be on hold for at least 6 months to see if the footfall and custom is there for the proposed 8 stores aka Aberdeen, York, Ashford, Peterborough and Sheffield which I think should have been kept open.

    I do think JL will come to regret closing those stores.
    Sheffield could have reopened in Meadowhall as it leaves a huge chunk of Yorkshire with no store at all.

    Bluewater is not accessible from the East of Kent.

    Abderdeen closure leaves a huge gap North of Scotland with a 3 to 4 hour round trip on the train to Edinburgh. Not everyone will do online as Boohoo will find out with Debenhams.

    Just my opinion.

    • I agree with you but please don’t suggest moving the Sheffield store to Meadow Hall. The city centre was badly affected by that mega precinct and had only started to recover before the pandemic.

    • I suspect one reason they didn’t go to Meadowhall was because so many customers are in the West/SW of Sheffield and in Derbyshire. It’s where the money is.

  2. Interesting comment “would not be appropriate” for more John Lewis Stores to close.
    The closure programme has shaken the belief, particularly of staff, in any statement
    from Head Office.
    If Christmas doesn’t work out of the orange tickets of “Anyday” fail to ignite sales make no mistake they will be looking again at the store estate.

  3. I’m so impressed with John Lewis.
    Their customer service is second to non. Communication excellent.
    Quality own brand clothing at affordable prices.

    We all need a John Lewis Store in our life

  4. you’ve clearly not contacted jl customer services recently, its changed dramatically. My daughter had to qoute consumer act regarding a return and they still refused. She ended up e mailing chief exec. Appalling customer service.

  5. Bitterly disappointed you are closing York store. Have spent a lot of money in it and I think your decision is one you will come to regret. The only reason I shopped on line was because the store was closed. Why not put Waitrose in with John Lewis as the Waitrose in York is too small with inadequate parking.

  6. I feel that closing John Lewis in Sheffield is both short sighted and goes against John Lewis’ reputation of working with its partners and its community. As a very committed JL customer I feel let down by JL prioritising profits over the needs of its customers, partners and community. I used to think JL was better than that and it’s reputation has been tarnished in my eyes and in the eyes of many of its customers who wrote to various CEOs in the company and got the same anodyne cut and paste response. Watching the queues outside shops today should alert it to the fact that customers were choosing to shop on line because they had no choice. JL should seriously reconsider its decision to close its Sheffield store. Many faithful customers like me feel very let down. Sheffield city centre will suffer seriously because of JL’s decision.

  7. The York Store should be opening now after the Lockdown for a trial period, so JL can see how the newly finished devopment on the Vanguard Centre and increase in Footfall will affect the Viabilty of this lovely York Store. The people in York and surrounding areas now realise what they may loose and respond according to support this store. It is a Jewel in the Crown of York.
    Many retired residents have much money accumulated during this long Covid19 pandemic the JL will see the benefits of a Trial period

  8. Retail is and always has been a challenging environment. JL has a very user friendly website which is efficient and speedy.Deliveries are also very quick, often arriving several days early. This makes for a popular way to shop for most items although I prefer to shop instore for clothes. Many stores are located in old and expensive to runbuildings so that may well be a factor in some closures. I see online sales continue and strengthen although for items like clothing and shoe there is definitely still a demand for stores. One good idea is the almalgamating of waitrose foodstores and JL on one site where soace and parking allows. IMAGINE A REALLY EXCELLENT WAITROSE JOINED ONTO A GLEAMING NEW JOHN LEWIS WITH PLENTY OF FREE PARKING. NOW THAT WOULDBE A WINNER!!

  9. John Lewis should have a much bigger store in Chester like Cheadle. Instead they have closed their Home store. Chester has thousands of visitors every year and they expect to see lots of nice shops. That is aside from all the residents. They should have waited to see the footfall. Big costly mistake!

  10. It’s not a costly mistake is it, keeping stores open that have been loss makeing or only marginally profitable is a costly mistake. Reading the comments you would think JLP woke up one morning and picked stores out of a hat to close.

  11. Sharon White & Pippa Wicks should hang their heads in shame for closing the John Lewis store in Sheffield, ruining the city centre, the community and the loss of nearly 300 jobs. Not so smart not to reopen knowing that customers were waiting in their droves to shop again after the 3 months of lockdown! I only hope they don’t live to regret it.

  12. We have a combined Waitrose and JL Home in Basingstoke and they are closing the JL part. Bizarre. We are losing Debenhams so keeping JL it would be a good move. Learnt from experience how difficult it is to buy furniture etc on line. And odd to make decision based on last 12 months surge in on line shopping when there was no other option!

  13. The statement in the story above says stores were loss-making. This is not what they said before about Sheffield when they renegotiated the lease (in their favour) last autumn. They were going to be here until 2040 and even getting the refurb paid for by local taxpayers. They’ve made a packet out of Sheffield over the years, would have been the only show in town, with Debenhams closing, and the centrepiece in the Heart if the City II project. Most people I know can’t wait to get back to social shopping but feel so betrayed that it won’t be in a John Lewis anywhere.

  14. Is the JL strategy of Dame Sharon White floundering? Some bold moves and now Ms Wicks fronting the message. Turnaround? A worrying move for the JL Brand to ‘Anyday’ prices. A supermarket move to scoop the lower end of the market. Time to be true to the JL Brand credentials!

  15. I too would love to see Waitrose in John Lewis stores as some one else suggested .
    Marks and Spencer have been doing it that way for years and obviously works

  16. They will regret it, sales were up because we had no choice. Non of us want to make buying things online perm! You cant try on online! So good luck keeping your stats up PIPPA! Maybe job hunting soon

  17. I have written to Ms Pippa Wickes regarding the closure of John Lewis Sheffield, but so far, no reply!
    The loss of this Store is nothing less than catastrophic for our City Centre. None of The Staff deserve this, nor do their faithful Customers.

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