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28 November 2021

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

News impacting business from Adrian Leopard & Company - Insolvency Practioners & Mediators

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John Lewis – will it survive?
Adrian Leopard 327

John Lewis – will it survive?

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Another nail in the retail coffin

The news that John Lewis has announced that another eight of its stores will not re-open after lockdown has ended is sad indeed and it is obviously very worrying for the 1465 staff whose jobs are at risk.

Speculation as to whether a particular brand can survive or not is one on which everyone will no doubt have a different view. In the case of John Lewis it certainly does have its strengths – Waitrose is keeping on going and of course the company’s internet presence is really quite forceful. What we are seeing and which is perhaps simply being overlooked is that the traditional high street is not what it was and, sadly, it never will be again. Too many changes have taken place in the way our society seems to want to do business and when we see an avalanche start, however small the first snowball, it can end up catastrophic.

Are provincial cities going to have the trading oomph for ordinary retail to continue? There will probably always be some successful locations in the country – Oxford Street in the west end springs to mind, Harrods perhaps – but there would really need to be some sort of financial change to encourage retail back into growth. Over the years city centres have been getting more expensive to reach – car access reduced and parking costs increased.

We have all been waiting patiently and for a long time for the lockdown to come to an end and with some trepidation I suspect. We really cannot be sure just what our new normal is going to look like but it is unlikely to look like what we had before covid-19 came in and changed everything.

Adrian Leopard 24-03-21

Photo Biel Morro

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