John Lewis Could Be Forced To Slash Costs And Close Another Eight Stores.
The John Lewis Partnership is preparing to close another raft of department stores as chairwoman Dame Sharon White takes more drastic measures to slash costs. Up to eight John Lewis stores could be shut permanently, with the chain’s bigger, older shops thought to be most at risk. The final number of closures is yet to be determined as it is subject to negotiations with landlords. In some instances, John Lewis may close a store but relocate to a smaller property nearby.
John Lewis Partnership cut 1,500 jobs due to a drop in sales in November 2020. The partnership had already shed 1,390 roles- jobs have been stripped to create a more “flexible” team apparently. The business, which is owned by its staff who are known as partners, has been severely hit due to Covid affecting sales and had already closed down eight underperforming John Lewis department stores and four Waitrose supermarket sites last year.
The demise of England’s high streets
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband has urged ministers to extend the current tax relief available to avoid England’s third lockdown from creating a host of ghost towns.
The party is warning of devastation in areas such as the Isles of Scilly, where Labour calculates that as much as 44 per cent of businesses rely on visitor, retail and hospitality trade.
According to Labour analysis of ONS data, a fifth of businesses are in the same position across the rest of Cornwall, in Devon’s Torbay and in the Isle of Wight, while 17 per cent of those in Brighton and Blackpool are also retail, tourism or hospitality reliant.
Labour is urging the government to confirm it will extend the 100 per cent business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for at least another six months.
The opposition party also wants the reduced rate of VAT for businesses in the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors to continue and is calling for businesses to be given greater flexibility to manage debt, including using student loan-style arrangements. The reduced VAT rate is set to expire on March 31, when it will return to 20 per cent.
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