Retailing giant John Lewis reaffirms its decision to shut its Peterborough Queensgate store
John Lewis has confirmed the closure of its store at Peterborough’s Qeensgate shopping centre with the loss of 318 jobs.
The department chain announced in March that its Peterborough store, which has been part of the Queensgate since the centre opened in 1982, would not reopen at the end of the third national lockdown on April 12.
Since then the retailer has been in consultation with its Partners to examine other ways of maintaining a John Lewis presence in Peterborough and about alternative career options for those staff set to be made redundant.
A John Lewis spokeswoman said: “Following consultation with our Peterborough Partners, it is with regret that we confirm that the shop will remain permanently closed.
“We will now meet with each Partner individually to discuss how best we can support them as well as looking at redeployment opportunities should they wish.”
Sabrina Murphy, Head of Branch for John Lewis Peterborough, said: “John Lewis has been part of Peterborough for almost 40 years so this is a very sad time for everyone associated with the store.
“I want to pay tribute to my incredible team of Partners here who have continued to conduct themselves with professionalism and dedication throughout the challenges of the pandemic, and especially during what has been a difficult past few months.
“They will all be supported in every way possible throughout the next stages and we will look at opportunities for anyone wishing to remain with the business.
“I would also like to thank our customers for their loyalty over the years and for the support they have shown us - it has always meant a lot and I am glad we will still be represented in the city through our nearby Waitrose.”
John Lewis has revealed a number of measures for supporting its staff who cannot remain with the retailer.
These include a dedicated Retraining Fund, which will contribute up to £3,000 towards a recognised qualification or course for up to two years for any Partner with two years’ service or more.
All Partners will have the option of 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.
A recent appeal from economic development company Opportunity Peterborough for local employers with vacancies to come forward to help John Lewis staff generated responses from at least 50 employers.
Managers of the Queensgate centre have never commented on the John Lewis closure.