York will fight to keep its John Lewis open, a leading city councillor said today.
Following the shock announcement that the seven-year-old, purpose-built store would not reopen, politicians of all parties have had their say.
Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for economy and strategic planning, said: “As we know, John Lewis, in the light of significant losses last year, has reviewed their estate and has said they will not be reopening at the Vangarde Centre.
“In light of the pandemic, and the significant impact this has had on the national retail sector, it’s disappointing that this is another high street brand moving more online.
“We are encouraging everyone concerned to explore all avenues to try to keep John Lewis in York if that can be achieved, and we are seeking to speak with them directly.
“We also recognise that this will directly affect families in the city we work with partners to support 209 John Lewis employees caught up in this situation.”
The store is in the constituency of York Outer’s Conservative MP Julian Sturdy.
He said that he has scheduled a call with managers at John Lewis in the morning, in order to discuss the decision not to reopen the store.
“While no brand has been immune to the challenges of the last year and the ongoing trend towards online retail, since opening in 2014 John Lewis has been a key anchor of the Vangarde Retail Park and has been warmly welcomed by local residents,” Mr Sturdy said.
“I have already been in touch with John Lewis about their York site and have a call scheduled for tomorrow where I will make sure that any decision is not being made as a kneejerk reaction to a most difficult pandemic year.
“Soon the Community Stadium will be welcoming thousands of York City FC and York City Knights fans to the retail park each week as well as hundreds of families visiting the cinema and other leisure offerings within the complex, meaning John Lewis will have an incredible pool of potential custom to add to their already loyal shopper base.
“Before the pandemic I had only heard good reports of the York outlet’s performance compared to other John Lewis outlets and I will make the case that York still has a promising future as a home to a John Lewis store.
“In my discussions tomorrow, I will also ensure that John Lewis commit to effectively communicate with their staff, many of whom are my constituents, during this period of uncertainty and offer them the support expected from a responsible employer.”
York Central MP, Labour’s Rachael Maskell, tweeted: