John Lewis to shut eight stores
JOHN Lewis is to permanently close eight of its stores, putting 1,300 workers at risk. One of its two stores in Swindon will close, as well as a flagship store at Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre.
The John Lewis Partnership said the decision was made to “secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs”.
It said department stores in Birmingham and Watford will be affected, along with four At Home stores in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, and travel sites in Heathrow and St Pancras.
Its At Home store in Swindon’s Mannington Retail Park opened in October 2010, but won’t now reopen.
The store it has as Swindon’s Outlet Centre is unaffected and will reopen later this month.
Prior to the pandemic, the eight outlets were already “financially challenged” but customers have moved away from stores and towards shopping online faster as a result of coronavirus, it said.
The group estimated that between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of John Lewis sales will be made online this year and next, compared with 40 per cent before the coronavirus crisis.
Around 1,300 of its workers, known as partners, will now enter consultations over the cuts.
The company said that, if redundancies are confirmed, “every effort” will be made to find new roles where possible across the group.
The shift towards online has seen the company double capacity at its Waitrose supermarket arm, while it also plans further investment in John Lewis’s online business.
However, it stressed that John Lewis shops have a “vital role” within the business.
John Lewis Partnership chairwoman Sharon White said: “Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult
AN electricity pole that fell onto the M5 on Wednesday evening could have been struck by lightning.
Thousands of motorists suffered long delays after live 33,000 volt power cables fell onto the motorway in Somerset.
Firefighters, highways officers and workers from Western Power Distribution (WPD) attended the scene between J22 for Burnham-on-Sea and J23 for Bridgwater at around 6.45pm. The route was closed until the early hours of Thursday.
Bridgwater resident Alice Bloodworth, said she was stationary for an hour.
She said: “We were stuck on the M5 when the electrical pole just went down.
“We met a lovely lady in the car in front. It was her birthday and we felt bad she was stuck in the traffic jam.
“It was fun being on the motorway when it was empty and we picked some flowers and listened to music.
“We were stuck for about an hour and then were turned around to drive back to Junction 23.
“We were turned around on the motorway so we drove down the right side the wrong way which was and today’s announcement will come as very sad news to customers and partners.
“However, we believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the partnership - and continue to meet the needs of our customers however and wherever they want to shop.
“Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many partners as possible within our business.”
Ms White added that the partnership will soon announce the results of a recent strategic review to help boost the performance of its brands. strange but definitely an experience.”
A spokesman for WPD said 10,546 properties had their electricity supply disconnected.
He added the pole fire could have been caused by a lightning storm.
“It is likely the pole was struck and an insulator damaged.
“This could cause a small amount of electricity to track down the pole, heating it up and eventually catching fire,” he said.
Stationary cars on the M5 after the electricity pole fire, below