The John Lewis department store has confirmed that eight of its shops will not reopen when lockdown restrictions end next month.

The news follows a previous announcement of eight store closures last year.

The stores identified for shuttering in this latest round include four ‘At Home’ shops in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells and four department stores in Aberdeen, Peterborough, Sheffield and York.

The retailer has now entered consultation with the 1,495 staff members affected by the proposals, although it will be trying to find alternative roles within the John Lewis Partnership for as many as possible.

In its full year results announcement earlier this month, the partnership said it could no longer sustain a large John Lewis store in some locations where there was low footfall.

In a statement today, Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Today’s announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years. The high street is going through its biggest change for a generation and we are changing with it. Customers will still be able to get the trusted service that we are known for – however and wherever they want to shop.”

John Lewis said having fewer bigger stores will enable it to invest in its remaining shops and dedicate more space  to experiences and services. It will also be testing new formats for smaller, local neighbourhood shops that will offer “the best of John Lewis”.

The retailer is expecting 60% to 70% of its sales to be made online in the future. It has also revealed that almost 50% of its customers now use a combination of both store and online when making a purchase.

The John Lewis Partnership has also confirmed plans to transfer the running of its Waitrose distribution centre in Leyland to XPO Logistics. It said the decision will safeguard the facility’s future and secure the employment for the 436 Waitrose staff members who work there.