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Newbury John Lewis shop in Parkway to close

Store one of eight to not reopen following impact of coronavirus

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

John Lewis tight-lipped over future of Newbury store

Newbury's John Lewis store is to close permanently.

The Parkway store is one of eight John Lewis shops to close as the John Lewis Partnership said the closures were needed to secure the business’ long-term future and respond to customers' shopping needs.

It will now enter consultation with impacted partners about its proposals. John Lewis said that 99 partners would be impacted by the closure of the Newbury store.

The flagship store in Parkway Shopping opened in 2012 taking over a 40,000 sq ft unit over two floors and bringing 160 jobs to West Berkshire.

Alongside Newbury, the shops identified for closure include two of the smallest in the estate - travel hub shops at Heathrow and St Pancras, four At Home shops in Croydon, Swindon and Tamworth and two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford.

Approximately 1,300 partners across the eight shops will now enter into consultation. 

John Lewis said that the eight shops were already financially challenged and the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated the switch from shopping in-store to online.

Before the virus struck, 40 per cent of John Lewis sales were online, but this could now be closer to 60 to 70 percent of total sales this year and next.

Chairwoman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sharon White, said: “Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult 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.

“There are many reasons to be optimistic about the Partnership’s future. Waitrose and John Lewis are two of the UK’s most loved and trusted brands and we have adapted to the challenges of the pandemic by responding to the new needs of customers. We will soon announce the output of our strategic review which will ensure our brands stay relevant for future generations of customers.” 

The partnership said that every effort would be made to find new roles for partners who wish to remain within the partnership.

Opportunities could include transferring to local Waitrose shops or working for johnlewis.com and waitrose.com as they continue to grow. 

Nine John Lewis shops in Aberdeen, Ashford, Brent Cross, Chichester, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading, Sheffield and White City Westfield will reopen on July 30.

The Leicester shop will also reopen when the local lockdown for the city is lifted, taking the total number of reopened John Lewis shops to 42. The Swindon outlet will also reopen on July 30. 

Both John Lewis and Waitrose will continue to invest heavily in ecommerce to reflect this shift. Waitrose has already doubled its online capacity since the beginning of the pandemic.   

A Retraining Fund will contribute up to £3,000 towards a recognised qualification or course for up to two years for any partner with two years’ service or more. All partners would be given access to a three month support programme with an outplacement specialist to help with CV writing and interview skills.

In addition to statutory redundancy payments, partners who have worked with the business for more than a year would be entitled to redundancy pay, which equates to two weeks’ pay for every year of service, regardless of age.

Those with less than one year’s service who leave on grounds of redundancy would receive an ex-gratia tax-free payment equivalent to one week’s contractual pay.  

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Article comments

  • intrapreneur

    12/07/2020 - 15:27

    No surprise the JL is closing with the mad parking charges. Shops closing left and right, Market Square with tumbleweed blowing through it, only wino’s in shop doorways. Kennet Centre is doomed, and STILL they persecute and pedestrianise!

    Reply

  • Mtubbsy

    09/07/2020 - 22:43

    Sorry for the staff losing their jobs and wishing them the best of luck finding new employment.

    Reply

  • Fender200

    09/07/2020 - 14:31

    WBC: How about giving us two hours of free parking in Newbury now? How many more casualties of the high street before you start listening to the voices of reason?

    Reply

  • louise

    09/07/2020 - 10:58

    Ms White is no retail guru by any means being a politically correct style appointment, when the group desperately needed a retail turn round guru, not a career civil servant who doesn't understand what a "competitive market" is.

    Reply