John Lewis has announced the closure of its ‘at home’ stores in Newbury and Swindon while its Swindon outlet and Reading and Oxford stores will reopen on July 30.

The closures are among eight branches which will close permanently. The others are at Croydon, Tamworth, Heathrow, St Pancras, Birmingham and Watford.

The Reading store, the biggest and oldest in the Thames Valley had been under threat. However John Lewis owns the Broad Street building which houses its Reading store and Hicks Baker retail director Fiona Brownfoot said that made it unlikely the partnership would close it.

She said of its reopening: “It’s fantastic news and a very solid endorsement of Reading as a viable and sustainable retail centre.”

In the partnership’s announcement, chairman Sharon White, said: “Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult and today’s announcement will come as very sad news to customers and partners.

“However, we believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the Partnership – and continue to meet the needs of our customers however and wherever they want to shop. Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many partners as possible within our business.

“There are many reasons to be optimistic about the Partnership’s future. Waitrose and John Lewis are two of the UK’s most loved and trusted brands and we have adapted to the challenges of the pandemic by responding to the new needs of customers. We will soon announce the output of our strategic review which will ensure our brands stay relevant for future generations of customers.” 

Image (Google): The Newbury store which opened in 2012.

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