New appeal to John Lewis staff to find ways to keep retailer in Peterborough
Staff at closure-bound John Lewis are being urged to help explore ways of keeping the retailer in Peterborough.
Partners at the department store, which has operated from the Queensgate shopping centre for 39 years, have been asked to help come up with alternative operating models for the retailer.
The aim is to keep some presence of John Lewis in the city following the retailer’s announcement that it does not plan to reopen its city store when non-essential traders are allowed to resume business as lockdown lifts on April 12.
The closure plan has put 318 jobs at risk with many civic and business leaders also concerned at the wider impact to the city if the retailer leaves.
The appeal to John Lewis staff comes from Peterborough MP Paul Bristow following lengthy talks yesterday with the John Lewis chairman Dame Sharon White and other directors.
Mr Bristow said: “The John Lewis consultation period with its staff runs until mid-June and we need to use that time to look at alternative ways that John Lewis could go on operating in Peterborough.
“John Lewis directors have said the consultation period is for their staff to think about the company’s reasons for the closure and to propose alternatives.
“And that is what we need to do. It’s worth a go.
“I am inviting John Lewis Partners to get in touch with me if they wish and to start exploring the options.
He added: “John Lewis has been in Peterborough for far too long for it just to pack up and go at this time when the future is looking so bright for the city.”
Mr Bristow’s appeal comes as a petition to retain John Lewis in Peterborough has secured 10,000 signatures.
The Peterborough store is one of eight across the country that John Lewis does not plan to reopen on April 12.
The retailer has previously said the Peterborough store had been challenged financially before the pandemic. The Covid-19 crisis and the effects of three lockdowns and the acceleration of the switch to online shopping meant bosses no longer believed the store could become sustainable in the future.
Directors at John Lewis have also said that nationally they are considering the possibility of operating smaller stores and stores within the company’s Waitrose branches.