Veteran retail analyst Richard Hyman, explained: “Does it make sense for John Lewis to close some stores, absolutely yes. No one wants to see people losing their jobs which is what would happen, but the reality is for the market at large, online has been getting bigger and bigger, with John Lewis at the vanguard.”

He pointed out that 30pc of all retail is already online, adding: “For John Lewis that number was short of 50pc before Covid-19, although now it’s at 100pc.

“The reality is the retail world we are all moving into means every retailer needs fewer stores than it did before, including John Lewis, and not addressing this problem puts the rest of the business in jeopardy.”

Shortly after arriving at John Lewis Partnership earlier this year, Dame Sharon already warned it was facing the most challenging period in its history.

She added in February that stores were unlikely to remain open without financial improvements.

JLP said: “We keep our estate under continuous review in order to ensure we have the right amounts of shops to best serve our customers and remain commercially viable.

“It is too early to make a decision but, as always, any decision that is made is done with securing the long-term financial sustainability of the Partnership and is always communicated to our Partners first.”



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