John Lewis has revealed plans to permanently close eight of its stores, putting thousands of jobs at risk across the UK.
The department store chain announced plans to enter into consultation with staff and approximately 1,300 partners across its affected stores.
The decision came after a dramatic drop in sales since the start of the pandemic in March. The company has explained that the cuts will help "secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers' shopping needs".
Full list of John Lewis stores closing down permanently
Croydon, opened in August 2010
Swindon, opened in October 2010
Tamworth, opened in October 2011
Newbury, opened in April 2012
Heathrow Terminal Two, opened in June 2014
London St Pancras Train Station, opened in October 2014
Birmingham, Bullring Shopping Centre, opened in September 2015
Watford, Harlequin Shopping Centre, opened in August 1990
Even before the pandemic, the eight branches facing permanent closure were already considered "financially challenged", as customers increasingly choose to shop online rather than in store.
Speaking to the Mirror Money at the start of the month, John Lewis had previously confirmed there may be upcoming job cuts, explaining, "The reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now and we have shared this with our Partners.”
John Lewis has also previously revealed a dramatic slump in revenue. Back in March, annual profits had decreased by 23 per cent, causing the chain’s annual bonus to dramatically decrease.
This year, its bonus was reduced to only two per cent of salary, whereas, in comparison, at the company’s peak in 1953, all of its partners received a bonus of 24 per cent of their salaries.
Who will be eligible for redundancy pay?
Redundancy pay will be given to those who have worked for John Lewis for over a year. Those who qualify will be given two weeks' pay for every year of service, regardless of their age.
Staff made redundant who have been employed for less than a year will receive an ex-gratia tax-free payment. This will equate to one week’s contractual pay.
Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership explained, "Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many Partners as possible within our business.
“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.”