Sheffield Council negotiations with John Lewis for compensation still not settled three months later

Negotiations are continuing between Sheffield City Council and John Lewis for compensation following the closure of their Sheffield store.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 3:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 3:20 pm
John Lewis closed its store at Barker’s Pool at the start of lockdown three in January. In March the company said it would not reopen, with the loss of 299 jobs.

In August 2020, John Lewis agreed to a 20 year lease at a discounted rate on the Barkers Pool store with Sheffield Council.

However, just months later, it was revealed that the historic former Cole Brothers store, which had closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, would not be reopening.

In July council leader Terry Fox said an agreement on compensation to be paid to Sheffield Council by John Lewis for prematurely ending the lease was expected to have been concluded ‘this summer.’ But it has now been confirmed that no agreement has yet been reached.

The council spent £3.4 million buying John Lewis out of its lease last year and then rented the building back to the retailer at a reduced price in a bid to keep them in the city centre.

Sheffield residents were devastated when it was revealed that the store would not be re-opening, and many shoppers decided to boycott John Lewis online and the Waitrose store on Ecclesall Road as a result.

Any compensation agreement that is reached between the council and John Lewis will be put towards the future of the site.

A plan on the use of the site going forward is expected to be formulated by the end of the year, with a public consultation aiming to take place this October.

A Sheffield Council spokesman said: "The negotiations are ongoing.”