John Lewis & Partners has refused to comment on the possible closure of stores in Reading, Oxford, Swindon and Newbury.

The Times has published a list of 18 stores which, it says, could close and those in all four towns are included. Swindon has both a Home store and an outlet branch.

Twenty-one stores have re-opened following lockdown with nine more to open on July 13, before the reopening of the flagship Oxford Street in London on July 16.

The Times’ list of 18 are those which are yet to reopen. The paper speculates that up to 10 of those face closure.

Chairman Dame Sharon White has said it is ‘highly unlikely’ all the partnership’s 50 stores will reopen. The company has said staff affected by any closures will be told by the middle of July.

There are around 700 employed at the Reading store, many of them now on furlough while some have been encouraged to work in Waitrose branches stores during lockdown.

Earlier this year John Lewis closed the Reading store’s collection point off Mill Lane. Large items are now either delivered to customers or sent to Waitrose shops for collection.

The company owns the main shop building in Broad Street, which Hicks Baker retail director Fiona Brownfoot says makes it unlikely to be among closures.

Reading UK executive director, Nigel Horton-Baker, said: “John Lewis has been a key part of the Reading high street offer for many years and we look forward to it re-opening again soon.”

The Reading store is by far the oldest of those in the Thames Valley. The partnership took over the Heelas shop in 1953 and dropped that name in 2001.

The Newbury store opened in 2011 at the Parkway shopping centre while the Oxford store opened in 2017 with the opening of the Westgate.

Image by Chris Wood (User:chris_j_wood). – Own work. Original filename DCP_3853.JPG. Cropped to avoid identifiable personal images., CC BY-SA 3.0,

Please rate this article out of five stars below.
You can comment too, using the form at the bottom of the page.

© Thames Tap No 217 (powered by