An email to staff at the John Lewis store in York was the first inkling that its future was in doubt.
Workers hadn’t been furloughed during this lockdown, one employee told YorkMix.
He had been going in to the Vangarde store even though it was closed to the public – in order to help ship out goods to suppliers who needed them for online sales.
After his shift on Monday, he received an email telling staff not to go into the York store yesterday, and to join a video call today.
Staff from the eight branches earmarked for closure were told the news during that video call.
“I got suspicious when we were told about the video call,” the York worker told YorkMix. “They weren’t going to invite the whole John Lewis workforce along for it.
“We were probably being targeted.”
On the call on Wednesday morning, workers were quickly told their branches were not reopening.
“When they read out the name ‘York’, it was a kick to the stomach.
“I feel for the younger ones. Where are they going to get jobs in York now? You fear for them.”
He said he hadn’t expected York to be one of the branches axed.
“Our footfall was better than stores like Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle.
“We have got the car parking, we have got the football stadium opening, we have got the better footfall…
“It’s a shock for a lot of people.”
They were told that the closure decision was due to forecasts of dwindling profitability at the York store.
The store was purpose-built and opened in April 2014.
Group consultation on redeployment and redundancies will begin in May, with individual consultations starting in June.
People will then leave the John Lewis Partnership in August, the York employee told YorkMix.