Letter: The John Lewis building
This letter sent to the Star was written by James Frampton, HL Brown & Son Ltd, S1
There has been much discussion about the decision of John Lewis not to reopen in Sheffield city centre and what to do next.
It appears that the senior management didn’t have the necessary confidence in Sheffield. There was a failure to invest in the store and in the merchandise. Key luxury brands did not feature.
From a personal perspective, when looking for a briefcase or luggage etc, the selection was poor. I was often asked to go online or to the Manchester store.
Encouraging more walking and cycling is desirable, but a negative attitude from the city council towards cars is unhelpful. So many customers with money to spend find it difficult to park. Placing enormous concrete blocks in random locations and erecting long chains of red and white plastic barriers for no discernible reason is sending a message that we are not open for business.
As to the future of this painful vacuum in the heart of the city, I would hope that luxury retail is not entirely lost.
There are so many aspirational Sheffielders who are proud of their city and want to shop here if there is a decent offer and they feel welcome.
299 staff are in danger of losing their livelihoods. It would be wonderful if an investor of ambition who understands the potential of this city picked up the reins, refurbished the building which is not without merit, and revived its retail fortunes.