The John Lewis store at Basing View is to remain closed after lockdown, putting 93 jobs at risk.
The 42,000 sq ft John Lewis At Home shop, which has an adjoining Waitrose, is one of eight closures announced by the partnership. The Waitrose will stay open.
Its remaining 34 stores, including Reading, will reopen on April 12 apart from those in Glasgow and Edinburgh which will open a few weeks later.
Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council owns the freehold of the site and discussions have begun regarding the future of the lease.
Council chief executive Russell O’Keefe said: “We are saddened to hear about John Lewis’ decision not to reopen its At Home store at Basing View but we understand that businesses sometimes have to take these difficult decisions, particularly after a year in which the pandemic has added to the significant challenges already being faced by the retail sector.
“As part of our ongoing work to support the borough’s economic recovery and the regeneration of Basing View, we will seek to work closely with the John Lewis Partnership as they continue to operate their Waitrose store and around their proposals for the use of the remaining vacant space in the building.
“This would include highlighting the local support services available to help their staff who may be impacted by the planned closure of the At Home store.
“We recognise the importance of a sustainable town centre as a key part of the borough’s economic recovery post-Covid and we recently carried out consultation on a long-term vision for the area to ensure the town centre responds to changing customer needs and can thrive for years to come.”
In a statement, issued on March 24, John Lewis chairman Sharon White, said: “Today’s announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years.
“The high street is going through its biggest change for a generation and we are changing with it. Customers will still be able to get the trusted service that we are known for – however and wherever they want to shop.”
Pippa Wicks, executive director for John Lewis, said: “Closing stores is the toughest thing we do as a partnership because we all own our business. If the closures are confirmed, every effort will be made to find new roles for partners and for us to continue to serve our customers by providing access to John Lewis in different ways.
“Alongside a growing online business and the expansion of next day click & collect, we will invest in our in-store services and experiences, as well as new, smaller neighbourhood formats and the introduction of John Lewis ranges in more Waitrose shops.”
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