‘Keep John Lewis in Sheffield’: New petition passes 6,000 signatures in less than 24 hours

A petition to keep John Lewis in Sheffield has been signed more than 6,000 times in less than 24 hours.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 8:49 am

The high-end retailer announced yesterday that eight of its stores, including the one on Barker’s Pool in Sheffield city centre, which it said it could no longer ‘profitably sustain’, would not be reopening after lockdown.

The news, which puts 299 jobs in the city at risk, came just month after Sheffield Council revealed it had secured a £3.4 million deal to keep the store open by buying out John Lewis’ exisiting 42-year lease on the building and signing a new 20-year rental agreement tied to turnover, as well as offering money towards refurbishment.

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More than 6,000 people have signed a petition to keep John Lewis in Sheffield

The store has been a cornerstore of the city centre for more than 170 years, originally as Cole Brothers, and was seen as a key part of the council’s £480m Heart of the City II scheme to revive the city centre, creating up to 7,000 jobs.

A petition to John Lewis Partnership was quickly started by Samuel Thompson on the Change.org website following the announcement and, as of just after 8am today, Thursday, March 25, had already been signed 6,214 times.

His petition states: “With Sheffield's heart of the city redevelopment plan, a closure of this proportion will set back the project massively. As a Sheffield resident I know the main reason I head into the town centre and not to Meadowhall is John Lewis and now that it's closed I can't see that people will choose town over Meadowhall.

“This is a huge setback for Sheffield's development to become a major city centre. Help Sheffield grow and sign this petition to stop John Lewis Sheffield closing, and in turn, stop the city of Sheffield falling into stagnation.”

It is unclear whether the petition will have any impact on the firm’s plans, with increased footfall and spending more likely to sway bosses than signatures were the shop not closed due to Covid restrictions.

But there is still potentially time to save the branch, with the company having said a final decision on all eight proposed closures will be made after a consultation period with staff, set to end in June.