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John Lewis boss: No more store closures despite soaring online sales

John Lewis Partnership has revealed that it will not close any more stores despite online accounting for two thirds of its sales over the past year.

The partnership achieved record sales of £4.93 billion, with like-for-likes up 8% against last year, even with 10 weeks of shop closures during Covid lockdowns.

John Lewis also traded from 16 fewer stores, which it permanently closed during the pandemic.

Despite the soaring performance of online, John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks was firm that it would close no more stores.

She told Retail Gazette that footfall at its remaining stores is “performing well”. She also said that the customer journey was increasingly blended with shoppers visiting in-store and online.

Wicks also highlighted that fashion sales soared when its stores reopened after lockdown, which highlighted how customers prefer shopping in-store for certain categories.

“Interestingly when stores reopened shoppers bought more fashion. Stores play a key role for our customers alongside online,” she said.

Wicks added that services, such as personal styling, and in-store events make the shopping experience “very different to online”.

The retailer unveiled plans to invest £90 million in stores this year, which would fund 23 shop refurbishments.

Online sales have soared across the partnership. At John Lewis’ sister company Waitrose, ecommerce sales grew 14% year on year and now stand at 17% of total sales.

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