Loss of John Lewis stores in Sheffield and York has wide repercussions: The Yorkshire Post says

Permanent closures of John Lewis department stores in Sheffield and York represent not just terrible news for their 500 workers, but will also have much wider repercussions in both cities.

The two stores are very much at different ends of the spectrum in terms of their longevity; while the York branch in a shopping park only opened in 2014, the Sheffield shop has a history in its city centre dating back to 1847 when it was originally known as Cole Brothers - a name many people in the city still call it to this day.

It moved to its existing premises in the 1960s and took on the John Lewis brand in the early 2000s.

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In common with the rest of the country, both York and Sheffield have lost multiple shops, restaurants and pubs over the last year as the pandemic has vastly accelerated the decline in city centre footfall and the growth of online shopping.

John Lewis in Barker's Pool, Sheffield, is to close.

Town and city centres are being hollowed out - and the loss of major stores like John Lewis makes it all the harder for remaining businesses to survive.

Last summer, Sheffield City Council spent £3.4m buying the John Lewis building and leasing it back to the company on much cheaper terms in a desperate bid to keep it open.

That is money that should now be paid back to the city’s taxpayers but the fact that even that step could not save the store highlights there are no simple solutions to these problems.

We are becoming a more atomised society, with communal experiences like visiting the same local department store to buy Christmas and birthday presents being drained away. Urgent thought is needed at the highest levels of Government on how to address the problem.

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