John Lewis to permanently shut department stores in Sheffield and York

John Lewis, Vangarde Shopping Park in York

John Lewis has announced that it is not planning to reopen two major department stores in our region.

The John Lewis shop at the Vangarde Shopping Park in York and the Sheffield store will be permanently closing. They are two of eight shops across the country set to close their doors, in a move which will put 1,465 jobs at risk.

The department store retailer told staff on Wednesday morning that it will not reopen the stores after lockdown measures lift, as it undergoes a major shift in strategy to adapt to changing shopping habits.

John Lewis Partnership said in a statement that they will enter into consultation with the 209 staff affected in York and 299 in Sheffield - and seek to find alternative roles for as many people as possible.

Credit: PA Images

Kylie Gilson, Head of Branch for John Lewis York, said:

John Lewis has had a presence in Sheffield since 1940 and the company had recently signed a new 20-year contract in the city.

Business Expert, Rashmi Dube, says people in Sheffield have an 'emotional connection' with the store - which was in the historic former Cole Brothers building.

Sheffield Heeley Labour MP Louise Haigh said that the decision was a "hammer blow" to the city, as the store had been at the heart of a regeneration project.

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership said:

This was the reaction of people in Sheffield today:

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said: "Losing John Lewis in Sheffield deals another blow to retail workers who are among those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

"The store has been a cornerstone of the city's retail offer for more than a century. I am working with John Lewis and Sheffield City Council to determine what this means for those whose jobs are now on the line and what can be done to support them."

Earlier this week political leaders in South Yorkshire approved a covid recovery stimulus package of £860 million, including £300 million for the region's high streets.

Which stores are to close?

The eight shops set to close include four At Home stores in:

  • Ashford

  • Basingstoke

  • Chester

  • Tunbridge Wells

Four department stores in:

  • Aberdeen

  • Peterborough

  • Sheffield

  • York

The remaining 34 John Lewis shops in England will reopen from April 12 subject to Government guidance.

The announcement came eight months after the high street stalwart closed another eight stores, in a move which cut around 1,300 jobs, in the first stage of a sweeping overhaul.

John Lewis has been buoyed by soaring online sales in recent months but these were not sufficient to offset its decline in store sales as it tumbled to a £517 million pre-tax loss for the year to January.

It was the first loss in the group's history dating back to 1864.