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John Lewis to suspend store closures

Executive director Pippa Wicks said further closures would ‘not be appropriate’ for customers or employees

John Lewis has confirmed that it has no plans to close any further stores, according to The Times

Executive director Pippa Wicks insisted the chain will not close any more shops and defended its strategy to date, following news that eight John Lewis sites would not reopen post-lockdown

According to the paper, Wicks said: “We don’t have any more proposed closures. That would not be appropriate for customers or partners.”

Last month, however, the retailer announced that eight shops, including four ‘At Home’ shops in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells and four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York, would not reopen today (12 April).

The news followed “substantial research” undertaken by the group to identify and cater for new customer shopping habits in different parts of the country. As part of this, the company said it “can no longer profitably sustain a large John Lewis store”.

At the time, Wicks said: “Closing stores is the toughest thing we do as a Partnership because we all own our business. If the closures are confirmed, every effort will be made to find new roles for Partners and for us to continue to serve our customers by providing access to John Lewis in different ways.”

The latest strategy update comes as the group announced a new value range, named ‘ANYDAY’, which spans homeware, technology, baby care and baby clothing.

The range of 2,400 ANYDAY products are now available online, and has also been launched ahead of store reopenings today (12 April). 

John Lewis said the launch was a “critical element” of its turnaround strategy, adding that the products will be its most affordable to date, as ANYDAY prices are on average 20% lower than its current own brand prices.

It comes as its customer research has shown that 60% of UK adults are more money conscious now than they were at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The group added that despite the easing of restrictions, it “knows value for money is more important than ever to customers who are facing increasing financial pressures”.

Wicks added: “The ANYDAY range signals a step-change in the modernising of our brand and offers customers John Lewis quality at prices they wouldn’t expect. We want to challenge value perceptions of John Lewis and  attract a broader group of shoppers who want to combine style and value.

“This launch is a return to our commitment to offer great value for money, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to build on our own brand strengths and supercharge them for the future.”

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