Sheffield man blasts ‘insulting’ John Lewis closure in strongly-worded letter to director

“There are many, many thousands of Sheffielders who are quite bereft that they will no longer be able to nip down to Coles,” says Sheffield John Lewis shopper in a powerful letter to the company director after the announcement that it would close its city centre store.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 8:00 am

Sheffield resident John Scholey, from S11, has blasted John Lewis’ decision to close their store steeped in over 100 years of history.

See his full letter to director Pippa Wicks, which he copied in to the Sheffield Telegraph, below.

Dear Ms Wicks,

The final insult is suggesting we drive to Leeds, says angry Sheffield shopper

You probably won't ever see this email but I shall feel a lot better for having written it.

I have just read a page on the John Lewis website that is clearly aimed at the Sheffield customers that you are now no longer interested in.

Your name is at the bottom of this page so I assume that you will have read it but I doubt that it was written by yourself. I think that it is the height of insensitivity to put such obvious 'corporate speak' to the good citizens of Sheffield. On the one hand you are giving them the two fingers but on the other saying that your commitment to them remains as strong as ever. The actions of John Lewis and the sentiments expressed on this web page are totally incompatible. How can your commitment remain as strong as ever when by your actions you are saying the exact opposite. You finish by saying 'however you choose to use our services in the future, we'll be there whenever you need us'. Well that is blatantly not true as I would choose to visit your shop in Sheffield and you obviously won't be there.

The second point I should raise is that this is not a personal document addressed to the people of Sheffield. The exact same page is published for the people of Aberdeen, York etc. It just shows the contempt with which the people of our good city are held when you can't even send them on their way with a personal message. I expect that this page was thrown together in five minutes by some under manager with the thoughts 'well that's the end of Sheffield so let's not waste a lot of time'. I fully understand that this is a hard nosed business decision and the fact that the department store has been in the city for 170 years counts for nothing. There is no room for sentiment in these decisions and humanity does not have a line on the balance sheet but a little thought and consideration would go a long way and this crass attempt at trying to somehow continue with the sales that you obviously don't want will get you nowhere.

The final insult is below your page and suggests that the citizens of Sheffield may like to spend an hour on the motorway and drive up to the flagship John Lewis in Leeds. This is as laughable as it is insulting. The editor of the Sheffield Star wrote in her editorial 'there is nothing in this world that would make me drive up the M1 to shop in the newer branch now' and there are 1/2 million other citizens of Sheffield all shouting 'hear hear'.

I understand that you have only been with John Lewis since August of last year and so obviously feel no commitment to uphold the contract signed with Sheffield Council at that same time. I only hope the lawyers don't get involved and that Sheffield not only loses its flagship department store but also several millions of pounds as well.

There are many, many thousands of Sheffielders who are quite bereft that they will no longer be able to nip down to Coles to get their new TV, dishwasher, bed, curtains etc etc but we will survive and come out of this stronger. I no longer have any interest in whether John Lewis survives and I certainly won't be looking at the website to buy the new cooker that we are contemplating.

With regards,

John Scholey