Retailer John Lewis has warned it is planning to close some of its stores, with job cuts also expected to be made.
Chairman Sharon White confirmed plans to shut several of the firm’s shops in a letter to staff, with the news coming just weeks after the chain reopened for business.
Which stores are at risk?
The letter to staff outlined plans for major cost cuts across the business, which come as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
It is expected that several stores will not reopen again even after lockdown is lifted, staff will face job losses, and the John Lewis annual bonus will likely come to an end next year.
It is yet to be confirmed which stores are at risk of closure, but it is likely to be among the shops that are still yet to reopen. Partnership House, one the retailer’s two offices in Victoria, London, is also to be axed.
In a statement, the retailer said, “The reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now and we have shared this with our partners.
"As difficult as it is, it is highly unlikely we will reopen all our John Lewis stores.
"However no decision has been made and any details would be shared with partners first by the middle of July."
The retailer is currently in discussions with landlords regarding ending some of its leases, while others will be renegotiated to make terms more flexible. John Lewis is also in discussions with shopping centre owner Intu, which collapsed into administration last week, to determine how its stores in Intu centres will be affected.
A spokesperson said, “Following the announcement that Intu has entered into administration, we are working closely with them and the administrators to understand the implications for the small number of shops we have within their shopping centres.
“We have received assurances from the administrators that these centres will remain open while a buyer is found but are unable to say more at this stage.”
Which shops have reopened?
The plans for potential closures come following the news that a further 10 John Lewis stores will be reopening across the UK, including its first in Wales and Scotland, as well as the brand’s flagship shop in Oxford Street.
Shops in Basingstoke, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Chester, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Stratford and the Trafford Centre will reopen on Monday 13 July.
The Oxford Street department store will open a few days later, on 16 July, as the larger size of the store requires more extra time for plans to be finalised.
The latest reopenings takes the total number of reopened stores to 32, but a further 18 still remain closed.