Video report by ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills
The John Lewis Partnership has warned of further store closures as it slumped to a £517 million annual loss after the pandemic battered its department stores.
The group, which also owns upmarket grocery chain Waitrose, said it does not expect all its John Lewis shops to reopen at the end of lockdown.
It did not say how many of its 42 John Lewis shops are under threat, confirming it was in talks with landlords and will make a final decision at the end of March.
Recent reports suggested another eight stores were earmarked to be shut, on top of eight announced in July.
The group also scrapped its staff bonus for the first time since 1953, as previously reported, after the coronavirus crisis sent it plunging to the hefty loss for the year to January 30 against profits of £146 million the previous year.
Chairman Sharon White said: “There is no getting away from the fact that some areas can no longer profitably sustain a John Lewis store.
“Regrettably, we do not expect to reopen all our John Lewis shops at the end of lockdown, which will also have implications for our supply chain.
“We are currently in discussions with landlords and final decisions are expected by the end of March.
“We will do everything we can to lessen the impact and will continue to provide community funds to support local areas.”
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