Sheffield MP disappointed as John Lewis ‘goes back on really good deal’ from council

Sheffield MP Clive Betts has spoken of his disappointment over the shock closure of the John Lewis store in the city centre.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 1:14 pm
John Lewis in Sheffield City Centre is set to close. Picture: Chris Etchells

The retail giant announced the closure of the Sheffield store in Barker’s Pool along seven others today, in a move putting a total of 1,465 jobs at risk.

It blamed the new closures on a lack of custom at the shops and said the shift to online shopping over recent years is unlikely to reverse.

MP Mr Betts said: “It is very disappointing. After years of negotiations and getting a really good deal from the city council, they have reneged on that.

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“They are using the excuse that they lost money last year, but they actually made an operating profit despite the Covid crisis.

“The loss they are reporting is a smokescreen and John Lewis’ reputation in Sheffield is now in tatters. John Lewis used to be a company that treated its workforce, customers and communities properly.”

He added: “The council has an ambitious plan to regenerate the city centre, so the loss of John Lewis presents one more challenge it has to face but it will continue ahead.

“The reality is shops are shutting all over the country, this is not just Sheffield.”

Last year, Sheffield Council and John Lewis agreed a £3.4 million two-decade deal to retain the store as part of the council’s £480 million Heart of the City II project – allowing the authority to buy out John Lewis’ lease on the building and giving the retailer money towards the cost of improvements.

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