// 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.