Could John Lewis stay open? Confusion over future of Sheffield store as petition hits 20,000

Confusion surrounds John Lewis’ future in Sheffield after the company said plans to close its store were a ‘proposal’ which staff could ‘challenge and scrutinise’.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:33 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:41 pm

The firm also said discussions with Sheffield City Council were ongoing.

And over the weekend, executive director Pippa Wicks was quoted as saying Sheffield could be home to one of 20 planned ‘smaller format’ stores and they were having ‘really constructive conversations with Sheffield’.

Last week, the retailer said it did not plan to reopen the Barker’s Pool shop after lockdown in a bombshell announcement affecting 299 staff. It was one of eight the firm said it ‘could not profitably sustain’.

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John Lews in Sheffield City Centre is set to close. Picture: Chris Etchells

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition opposing the decision.

A John Lewis spokesman said they did not think the performance of the Sheffield store could be substantially improved.

He added: “However, the reason it is a proposal is that we will discuss the proposal for closure in consultation with our Sheffield partners.

“They have the opportunity to challenge and scrutinise the reasoning and financial case in order to test this and to help everyone understand the rationale for the closure’.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman said: ‘Our discussions with the council are also ongoing’.

She added: “With regards to the petition, we are aware of it and we are incredibly grateful for the support our shop has received - the strength of feeling underlines what a difficult decision proposing to close has been.”

John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks was quoted in the Financial Times as saying: ‘We are in really constructive conversations with Sheffield - there are good customers and potential sites that might be appropriate’.

Sheffield City Council has been contacted for comment.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.