Ipswich John Lewis survives latest round of store closures

Waitrose/John Lewis

John Lewis at home has survived the latest round of closures by the company. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The John Lewis store in Ipswich has avoided the threat of closure in the latest round of cutbacks announced by the retail giant.

Eight stores - including four "at home" stores like Ipswich - will not be reopening after the current lockdown is eased next month costing nearly 1,500 jobs.

But the nearest closure to this region is the full department store in the Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough.

There had been speculation that the Ipswich store could be on the list - but many in the property world felt that was unlikely at this stage because it shares a building with a successful Waitrose supermarket which is part of the same group.

At the Ipswich Futura Park site the two stores share many back-office functions and some staff work between the two brands making it more difficult to split them.

Also, it is understood that the company has a long lease on the whole Waitrose/John Lewis unit - and the Waitrose store was never seen as being under threat.

The "at home" stores that are being closed are at Ashford and Tunbridge Wells in Kent, Basingstoke and Chester. Full department stores that will not reopen are at Peterborough, Aberdeen, Sheffield and York.

It said its remaining 34 John Lewis shops in England will reopen from April 12 subject to Government guidance.

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The announcement came eight months after the high street stalwart closed another eight stores, in a move which cut around 1,300 jobs, in the first stage of a sweeping overhaul.

John Lewis has been buoyed by soaring online sales in recent months, but these were not sufficient to offset its decline in store sales as it tumbled to a £517 million pre-tax loss for the year to January. It was the first loss in the group’s history dating back to 1864.

Earlier this month, the John Lewis Partnership confirmed it would shut more sites and said its partners would not receive an annual bonus for the first time in 68 years.

Last year, the company announced separate plans to axe around 1,500 head office jobs to help cut costs.

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