John Lewis store in Sheffield will stay permanently closed - city MP says news is 'bitterly sad'
Sheffield’s historic John Lewis store is to close permanently, it has been confirmed, affecting hundreds of staff and leaving a large gap in the city centre.
The future of the store has hung in the balance since plans for closure were announced in March. A consultation has taken place in the weeks since then, with shoppers across the city upset at the loss of the historic former Cole Brothers store.
Today the retailer confirmed the shop, which employs 299 staff or ‘partners’ would not be opening back up again. The store’s closure will leave a large gap in the city centre as it undergoes major regeneration and debate has raged over what the site could be turned into in the future.
Patrick Duffy, Head of Branch for John Lewis Sheffield, said: ““John Lewis holds a special place in my and many peoples' hearts in Sheffield, so confirmation of our closure is very sad for the city, our Partners and our customers.
" It has been a great honour to be a part of a wonderfully dedicated team, who are so proud of the long and valued legacy of service we’ve held in Sheffield. I want to thank current and former Partners for all their hard work over the years - and for the memories that we have shared together.
"I also want to thank our customers for their loyalty, the joy they’ve brought to our shop and for the support they have shown for us in these past few months - we are very grateful and have been truly overwhelmed.”
John Lewis said staff would have access to a dedicated Retraining Fund and a three month support programme with an outplacement specialist to help with CV writing and interview skills.
In addition to statutory redundancy payments, partners who have worked with the business for more than a year would be entitled to Partnership redundancy pay, which equates to two weeks’ pay for every year of service, regardless of age.
Those with less than one year’s service who leave on grounds of redundancy would receive an ex-gratia tax-free payment equivalent to one week’s contractual pay.
Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake said: “This is bitterly sad news for the hundreds of committed staff who will lose their jobs and for the thousands of loyal customers who have supported the store for so long. John Lewis has been a staple of our high street for as long as I can remember and I know so many in our city will be sad to see it go. Thank you to Paul Blomfield, Sheffield Central MP, who arranged for us to meet with John Lewis bosses earlier this year. I am disappointed they have failed to listen to our concerns.”