John Lewis in Sheffield to remain empty and in darkness this Christmas
The John Lewis department store in Sheffield will stand in darkness this Christmas while the council and the company wrangle over its future.
Sheffield City Council and the company confirmed it will not be opening in any form during the festive season.
The department store closed in January with the loss of 299 jobs.
It had been hoped pop-up shops, a cafe or even a Christmas shop could occupy some of the ground floor so the five-storey building was not completely darkened.
But Coun Julie Grocutt, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council and executive member for community engagement said that would not happen.
She added: “The John Lewis building will not be open in any form before Christmas. John Lewis are still the owners of the lease.
“We are looking at improving the Christmas lights in and around Barkers Pool and we are in the process of seeking permissions from various partners and agencies to achieve this.”
A John Lewis spokesman said: “We do still hold the lease and are continuing our discussions with the council about the shop.”
When asked a second time about Christmas he responded: “No plans I'm afraid.”
It broke a 20-year lease it had signed with the council just six months before. The authority bought the building last summer and offered to pay for a revamp and charge a chicken feed rent in return for the retailer staying in Sheffield. Negotiations about paying a penalty for breaking the agreement are ongoing.
The company has since returned to profit, making £69m in the first half of this year.