John Lewis to shut eight stores

Western Daily Press - - News - STAFF RE­PORTER news@west­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

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

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