UK-based department store chain John Lewis has warned of more permanent store closures due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its operations.
The retailer, which currently operates 42 physical stores in the UK, confirmed that it is in discussions with landlords and said that some areas ‘can no longer profitably sustain a John Lewis store’.
Details about the number of stores that will not reopen after the current UK lockdown have not been disclosed. The final decisions will be announced at the end of the month and will have implications for John Lewis’ supply chain.
Last month, the retailer was reported to be considering closing eight more stores.
John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White said: “Closing a store is one of the hardest decisions we can make as a partnership.
“We are acutely sensitive to the impact on our partners, customers and communities, particularly at a time when retail and high streets are undergoing major structural change.
“We will do everything we can to lessen the impact and continue to provide community funds to support local areas.
“All our stores need to be exciting places to shop, reflective of the tastes and interests of local customers. This will require investment and we are working closely with landlords and local authorities.”
John Lewis reported a loss of £517m for the year ending 30 January, compared to £146m profit before tax the previous year.
The retailer will invest £800m this year to support its growth plans, and is also planning to reduce cost by £300m a year by next year.