Iconic British Retailer John Lewis To Shutter Stores Amid Pandemic

Iconic British Retailer John Lewis To Shutter Stores Amid Pandemic

As department stores suffer amid the COVID-19 health crisis, John Lewis is set to shutter many locations, and Harrods is eliminating 700 positions. John Lewis Chairman Sharon White said the retailer will likely eliminate the yearly bonus that all employees usually receive and will close an office in London, The Guardian reported.

White informed employees that the retailer was in discussions with some landlords regarding “ending some leases” and was aiming to rework the particulars of certain others. The executive noted that the store closings would signify the elimination of positions and cautioned that it is very improbable that the group will pay out a bonus in 2021.

In regard to the store closings, White said in the letter, “The difficult reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now. As difficult as it is, we now know it is highly unlikely that we will reopen all our John Lewis stores. Regrettably, it is likely that there will implications for some jobs.”

However, John Lewis indicated that a final decision has not yet taken place and that particulars would be shared with workers before mid-July.

Harrods has informed its workers that one in seven of its workforce would feel the impacts of job cuts due to the “ongoing impacts of this pandemic.” The company’s CEO Michael Ward attributed the reductions to a dearth of leisure travelers and social distancing.

In separate news, Britain-based The Restaurant Group plans to shutter 125 locations, a large portion of its stores, which include the Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamama names. The closings occur as the eatery business in Britain, as well as other places, suffers from the shutdowns brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospitality sector employs roughly one in 10 of Britain’s workforce, and up to 3,000 positions could be at risk because of the company’s planned closings.