John Lewis to temporarily close all shops - including Ipswich - on Monday
PUBLISHED: 16:22 21 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 21 March 2020
John Lewis will close all of their shops across the UK in reaction to government advice and the coronavirus pandemic.
The John Lewis Partnership announced on March 21 it had “difficult decision” to temporarily close all 50 John Lewis shops at the end of the working day on Monday as a result of the impact of coronavirus.
This includes shops in Ipswich and Chelmsford’s Bond Street.
The retailer said Johnlewis.com will continue to operate, as will Waitrose shops and waitrose.com.
In a statement on the John Lewis website, it says: “We are seeing a surging demand in Waitrose and online but like other businesses our shop footfall in John Lewis has fallen and this extraordinary volatility makes predicting full year cash flow and profits difficult.
“Although there has been a rising demand in food so far, it may peak further, as people are asked to stay at home.
The company says it is the first time in their 155-year history that shops will not be opening for customers.
Chairman Sharon White said: “The welfare of our customers, communities and partners is always our absolute priority.
“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.”
John Lewis said there was already 2,000 members of staff working in Waitrose shops trying to handle an “unprecedented demand” for their groceries and essential goods.