John Lewis in Leeds to close due to coronavirus pandemic

John Lewis in Leeds will close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has taken the "difficult decision" to temporarily close all 50 John Lewis shops at close of business on Monday as a result of the impact of coronavirus, the retailer has announced.

The retailer said Johnlewis.com will continue to operate as will Waitrose shops and waitrose.com.

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Announcing the move - the first time in the 155-year history of the business that it will not open its shop doors for customers - chairman Sharon White said: "The welfare of our customers, communities and partners is always our absolute priority.

John Lewis in Leeds will close due to the coronavirus epidemic. Photo: GILES ROCHOLL WWW.GILESROCHOLL.COM

"While it is with a heavy heart that we temporarily close our John Lewis shops, our partners will, where possible, be taking on important roles in supporting their fellow partners, providing critical services in Waitrose shops and ensuring our customers can get what they need through johnlewis.com, which is seeing extremely strong demand.

"The partnership has traded for over 155 years, during which time we have faced many difficult periods, including two world wars and the 2008 financial crisis.

"On every occasion, thanks to our customers and partners, and the long standing relationships with our suppliers and stakeholders, we have emerged stronger. We all need to continue to support each other and our strength and resilience will be tested. But they will not be broken."

The retailer said over 2,000 partners are already working in Waitrose shops to assist with the unprecedented demand for grocery and other essential goods and "wherever possible" partners will be redeployed to provide additional support to Waitrose and johnlewis.com.