John Lewis reveals the two reasons it closed Sheffield store in email to customer

John Lewis has described the planned closure of its Sheffield store as a ‘last resort’ in an email to a disappointed customer.

By Robert Cumber
Friday, 26th March 2021, 8:38 am

John Jackson wrote to the firm’s chairman, Sharon White, to complain about the decision to permanently shut eight branches, including the historic shop at Barker’s Pool in Sheffield city centre, and urge the retailer to reconsider.

He received a response from the company’s partner and case manager, who thanked him for writing and said she was ‘truly sorry for any disappointment caused’.

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John Lewis says closing its Sheffield store is a 'last resort'

“Making an announcement like this is always difficult and closing a shop is always a last resort,” she continued.

"Prior to the pandemic we believed we would still have a future in these locations.

"However, the effects of the pandemic, including three successive lockdowns and the acceleration of the switch to online shopping mean we can no longer profitably sustain a John Lewis store in some locations, which is resulting in the proposed closures announced today.

"Given the significant shift to online shopping in recent years – and our belief that this trend will not materially reverse – we do not think the performance of these eight shops can be substantially reversed.”

Mr Jackson had criticised what he called a ‘one size fits all’ approach by John Lewis, which he claimed failed to consider the affection many people have for the Sheffield store and its history stretching back more than 170 years to the old Cole Brothers shop.

He blamed a lack of investment for its struggles and said it made no sense not to reopen and ‘test the water’ once lockdown is lifted.

"It seems to me that like many organisations you are prepared to neglect your current customers because they don’t fit some person’s vision of the promised land,” he added.

In another email to the chain’s bosses, shared with The Star, he wrote: “Sheffield is the fourth largest city in England. To not have a high street presence (here) is a big mistake and will seriously dent your company’s image in South Yorkshire.

"I for one will not shop with John Lewis again, having been a loyal customer for many years.”