"Nothing is a done deal" - John Lewis boss told Sheffield shopper just days before closure confirmed
A John Lewis spokesman told a customer that ‘nothing is a done deal’ regarding the fate of the Sheffield store, four days before announcing its permanent closure.
Dominic Tyrrell, a John Lewis director relations case manager, told city customer John Scholey in a phone call that no plans had been finalised for the future of the store following its closure during lockdown and that a consultation was ongoing.
The call took place on June 24, while the decision not to reopen the store was announced to the public four days later.
The decision saw a backlash among Sheffield shoppers, many of whom stated that they would boycott John Lewis online.
During the call with John, recorded and heard by the Sheffield Telegraph, Dominic said: “Nothing is a done deal as yet. It’s still being consulted. Obviously there is a tending towards that [closing the store], I’m not going to lie, but when it comes down to it we still have to look at other possibilities.
“We have to make tough decisions right now but we categorically will be looking at other opportunities once we’ve got an even keel.”
Dominic also seemed to float the idea of maintaining a John Lewis presence in Sheffield as part of a collaboration with Waitrose.
He said: “We’re planning to come even closer together [with Waitrose]. We’re trying to align each other.
“Whatever we are thinking or maybe thinking it could have some kind of line on the store whether it’s John Lewis, Waitrose, what have you.
“Whether it’s a smaller part or it could very well be in that same building [Barker’s Pool John Lewis site] as well.”
In an email to Dominic following the announcement to close the store, John, who lives in the S11 area, wrote: “You may have been a trifle economical with the truth during our conversation on Thursday in view of the fact that just yesterday John Lewis announced that the Sheffield store was definitely closing for good with no mention of any future Sheffield arrangements."
A John Lewis spokesman said: “We wanted to ensure we could tell all our Sheffield Partners first that the shop would remain permanently closed after the consultation came to an end on Friday 25 June and informed our wider business, council and the community as quickly as we could thereafter.”