John Lewis closes its stores, the first time in 155 years

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. John Lewis is the latest retailer to temporarily close its stores during the coronavirus crisis, the first time the high street giant has done so in 155 years of trading.

All 50 sites will cease trading on Monday, John Lewis’s board confirmed.

According to Retail Sector the company’s e-commerce will remain operational, sales of which generate half of the brand’s turnover. Customers will be able to have orders delivered to their home, or choose to Click and Collect from their local Waitrose.

Social distancing and the government’s urge to halter non-essential shopping has seen John Lewis, much like the rest of the high street, suffer from a drop in footfall across its portfolio stores. While the company expects fashion sales to decline, it predicts electrical and home technology lines will increase as people are working from home.

Due to the “extraordinary volatility” of current trading, however, the group said it was “difficult” to predict full-year cash flow and profits.

Chairman Sharon White, said: “The welfare of our customers, communities and partners is always our absolute priority. While it is with a heavy heart that we temporarily close our John Lewis shops, our partners will, where possible, be taking on important roles in supporting their fellow partners, providing critical services in Waitrose shops and ensuring our customers can get what they need through, which is seeing extremely strong demand.”

“The partnership has traded for over 155 years, during which time we have faced many difficult periods, including two world wars and the 2008 financial crisis. On every occasion, thanks to our customers and partners, and the long standing relationships with our suppliers and stakeholders, we have emerged stronger. We all need to continue to support each other and our strength and resilience will be tested, but they will not be broken.”

Image courtesy of John Lewis Partnership; Article source: The Retail Sector


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