"Boycott is a call for John Lewis to listen up to the people of Sheffield"

It has been five weeks since John Lewis announced plans to close their Sheffield store – and the debate isn’t going anywhere.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 2:49 pm
John Lews in Sheffield City Centre is set to close. Picture: Chris Etchells

In those weeks there have been some fantastic, constructive, ideas shared about the future of the store building going forward, which we have focused on here at the Telegraph as part of driving a city-wide conversation on the direction of the site and city centre. An enterprising Sheffielder, Simon Jones, has also bought the website name Cole Brothers on behalf of the city.

But there is also a lot of anger. And it isn’t going away, it cannot be ignored.

In fact, it is growing, as John Lewis appears oblivious to the impact its actions or messages have on loyal Sheffielders who have shopped with them for generations, and the 299 staff whose livelihoods are hanging in the balance.

Firstly, they encouraged people to shop at their Leeds store instead. That went down well. They didn’t even open when non essential retail was permitted to clear stock that is sat there in the store. Then new plans for what has been called a ‘click and deliver replacement’ facility at Waitrose for Ecclesall Road were uncovered.

And last week we reported on the millions being spent at a London store, including roof terrace, while the consultation on closing Sheffield, as well as eight other stores, is ongoing.

It has all built up to the point where one Sheffield woman has launched a petition calling for people to boycott the brand online. She isn’t alone, as many other shoppers have shared that they are doing exactly the same.

None of us want John Lewis to close the store that has been part of Sheffield for more than a century, and while a final decision is pending, we can cling on to hopes that they may stay in some form. If not, something new and exciting could be created there.

But for now, John Lewis need to hear how strongly the people of Sheffield feel, and respond with respect.