John Lewis have just announced that they will be closing all 50 of their UK stores on Monday, due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
The retailer has assured customers that closures will be temporary, but the decision was made in the interest of the welfare of John Lewis customers and staff.
It’s only the second time John Lewis have had to close in such a way throughout the store’s entire 155 year history. The first and only other time was during the Blitz.
In a statement, Chairman Sharon White said: “The Partnership has traded for over 155 years, during which time we have faced many difficult periods, including two world wars and the 2008 financial crisis. On every occasion, thanks to our customers and Partners, and the long standing relationships with our suppliers and stakeholders, we have emerged stronger. We all need to continue to support each other and our strength and resilience will be tested. But they will not be broken.
I also want to give my personal thanks to every single Partner for their extraordinary efforts, I am truly grateful. And to the wider community for pulling together with us during such unprecedented times.”
The John Lewis website will continue to operate as normal, and staff will be redeployed across the business where possible, either at Waitrose or supporting online operations for the John Lewis Partnership. Over 2,000 John Lewis partners are already working in Waitrose supermarkets to help with the extraordinary demand for groceries and essential goods.
All John Lewis stores will close at end of play on Monday, March 23.