There had been fears that the Cambridge branch would be among the latest closures REPT0N1X/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

It has today (24/03) been confirmed that the John Lewis store in Cambridge's Grand Arcade is set to open on April 12th.

Meanwhile, the Peterborough store will be one of eight further casualties in the retail giant’s move to close branches following the financial strain of the pandemic.

The announcement of another eight store closures, following eight confirmed last year, had threatened the Cambridge branch’s future.

However, it has been confirmed to open in early April in line with government guidance, whilst stores in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester, Tunbridge Wells, Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York will not re-open as Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift.

The necessity for store closure came as a result of a £517 million annual loss for the John Lewis and Waitrose partnership in 2020, driven by lockdown restrictions. It is expected that the store closures will threaten the existence of 1,465 jobs, as only 34 branches will be left open.

Dame Sharon Lewis, Chair of the Partnership, explained the reasons for closing a further eight stores: “Given the significant shift to online shopping in recent years - and our belief that this trend will not materially reverse - we do not think the performance of these eight stores can be substantially improved.”

The confirmation that the Cambridge branch will remain open follows a petition campaigning for the future of the Grand Arcade Store. Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner launched the petition alongside an open letter to Dame Lewis, seeking confirmation that the store would stay.


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Highlighting that the petition had amassed 2,908 signatures, Zeichner told Varsity: “John Lewis is a store that is loved by so many in the city. This is good news for staff, shoppers and Cambridge as a whole to help secure future prosperity as we rebuild as lockdown eases.”

The closure of the Peterborough store spells uncertainty for over 300 employees. The confirmed closure comes just a year after renovations on the store, located in the Queensgate shopping centre.

Dame Sharon Lewis insisted that plans are in place to assist those who will lose roles in the Peterborough closure, explaining that: “If the proposal to close goes ahead, we have put together a carefully considered package of support to help our Peterborough Partners and would look to redeploy as many of them as possible.”

Varsity has contacted an opposition Councillor from the Liberal Democrat party for comment.