While the exact number of closures is “yet to be determined”, the chain’s bigger and older sites are thought to be most at risk. According to the paper, the company could reportedly close a store but relocate to a smaller property nearby in some instances.
John Lewis previously confirmed eight store closures last July, in a move that placed 1,300 jobs at risk. Its travel hub shops at Heathrow and St Pancras, four At Home shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth and two full-sized department stores in Birmingham and Watford shuttered permanently following the move.
“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.”
Last November, it was also revealed that the group would cut around 1,500 staff roles at its head office operations as part of its ‘Partnership Plan’. The cuts are expected to save around£50m by April 2021, in order to turn to sustainable profits by 2025.
In further efforts to cut costs, the company also slashed its staff bonus for the first time since 1953, after reporting a £635m pre-tax loss for the half-year period ended July 2020.
The group expects to begin paying a bonus again once its profits exceed £150m and its debt ratio falls below four times. Once its profits rise above £300m and a debt ratio below three times, it would expect to pay a bonus of at least 10%.
John Lewis declined to comment on the latest closures.