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Nearly 400 jobs to go at John Lewis after bosses confirm Birmingham store will not reopen

By Peter Madeley | Birmingham | Business | Published:

John Lewis has confirmed it is closing down its Birmingham store after bosses rejected a last ditch bid to save it.

John Lewis has confirmed that its Birmingham store will close

The flagship store, which opened at Grand Central in September 2015, closed its doors at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and will not be reopening. Nearly 400 jobs will go.

It is one of eight shops across the UK bosses say they are shutting down permanently to secure the firm's long term future.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, former managing director of John Lewis, led a delegation in putting forward a last minute proposal to save the store.

In a statement from Mr Street, Birmingham Council leader Ian Ward and Neil Rami, chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, they said they were "astounded" at the decision to press ahead with the closure.

They accused John Lewis of failing "to make the most of the opportunity that Birmingham has offered them", and revealed there were "a number of organisations" interested in taking over the site.

"With major events such as the 2022 Commonwealth Games fast approaching and set to accelerate the region’s economic resurgence, we’ll work collaboratively as a region to welcome the myriad of businesses – including retailers – joining us on this exciting journey," they said.

"All three of us were united in making our case to John Lewis, as well as offering some viable alternatives for them to stay. It is a great shame therefore that the retailer has decided to quit the city rather than attempt to make a success of any alternative proposal with our support.

"The Grand Central location is iconic for Birmingham, and we will now work with Hammerson to make sure the space is filled promptly and appropriately.

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"Today is a sad day for Birmingham, but one from which we will swiftly recover."

Speaking last month, John Lewis chairman Sharon White, said: "Closing a store is an absolute last resort and we could not see a way whereby the partnership could affordably turn round any of the eight stores."

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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