John Lewis today confirmed all eight retail sites announced in July as at-risk of closure will now never reopen.
The closures include John Lewis’s Grand Central department store in the heart of Birmingham, which has been closed since lockdown.
The retailer said the affected stores had already been financially challenged prior to the pandemic and that the shift towards online shopping during coronavirus meant the shops would not be commercially viable in the future.
The business said it would work with staff to find new roles where possible.
In a statement, John Lewis said: “This is a very sad occasion and one we never thought was imaginable when we first opened these shops.
“Our expectation was that we would trade in these locations for many years to come, but they were financially challenged before the pandemic and we have not been able to find a way that would allow us to turn that around.
“We are grateful to those who have expressed their support since announcing the proposed closure last month, and for the incredible professionalism our partners have shown - they remain our absolute priority and will be fully supported over the coming weeks.”
John Lewis’s Grand Central department store in the heart of Birmingham is a particular blow.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “A sad piece of news that is to do with John Lewis in central Birmingham.
“We were contacted yesterday by them and they have indeed confirmed to their staff that the proposal to close the central Birmingham shop has become a reality and it will not now reopen.
“That is despite myself, (leader of Birmingham City Council) Ian Ward and (chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company) Neil Rami having met with them and put forward what we believe were very viable alternatives which they have chosen not to accept.”
Street, a former managing director of John Lewis, had been urging the chain to reverse what he called the “dreadful mistake” of closing its Grand Central branch, since the proposal was announced at the end of July