John Lewis sets out plans for phased reopening of stores
The John Lewis Partnership is to embark on a phased reopening of its John Lewis department stores following the government’s decision to allow non-essential retailers to resume trading from 15 June.
Its Poole and Kingston shops will reopen on 15 June and will be followed on 18 June by stores in Bluewater, Cambridge, Cheadle, Cheltenham, High Wycombe, Horsham, Ipswich, Norwich, Nottingham, Solihull and Welwyn. This amounts to around a quarter of the retailer’s 50-strong estate.
The partnership said it will wait to see how customers and staff respond to the new Covid-19 safety measures in the stores before opening more throughout the summer. The first wave of branches to open have been chosen due to them being easily accessible by car.
In the reopening process, the partnership will be drawing on the experience of applying and managing social distancing measures in its Waitrose supermarkets and online operations.
Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Our shops reopening is a sign of hope as we begin to find our new normal. There’s an opportunity, now, for us, to come back stronger as a business, and offer the safety and reassurance that customers will want.
“However, while we have experience of social distancing in our Waitrose shops, we will need to establish new ways of working in our department stores. We are taking this cautious approach to be able to learn as we go and to make sure that our shops are as safe as they can possibly be for our customers and partners.”
Prior to opening, each shop will have undertaken a four-week reopening preparation programme. This will have included counting stock, replenishment, preparation of systems, merchandising, deep cleaning, the introduction of social distancing measures, staff training and final pre-opening checks.
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