John Lewis executive says Sheffield could get "smaller store" with reduced range
John Lewis executive board member Pippa Wicks has said that Sheffield could become home to a “smaller format” John Lewis store in place of the large Barkers Pool outlet, the Financial Times reported.
This week Sheffield city centre was dealt a “hammer blow” when the beleagured retail giant announced that the store on Barkers Pool would not reopen, in spite of £3.4 million investment from Sheffield City Council to buy the building and rent it back to John Lewis.
The move has provoked outcry among many Sheffield residents, with hundreds taking to social media to pledge that they will never shop with the chain again.
John Lewis has remained committed to the closure, however The Financial Times has reported that Ms Wicks, who was appointed executive director in 2020, has suggested that a smaller store could open to replace the larger one.
The FT quoted a ‘former insider’ as highlighting the prospect of the smaller stores, although warned that “cutting tens of thousands of product lines to hundreds was a big challenge” and that “It is unproven whether a smaller format works or can be made financially viable”.
However, Ms Wicks told the newspaper that Sheffield was a potential home for one of “up to 20” smaller format stores.
“We are in really constructive conversations with Sheffield . . . there are good customers there and potential sites that might be appropriate,” she told the FT.
Meanwhile, the future of the John Lewis site remains uncertain. Sheffield resident and artist Pete McKee called for the building to be ‘flattened’ to make way for green space and markets.