The John Lewis Partnership has said it is preparing for a phased reopening of its department stores after the Government said non-essential shops can reopen from June 15.
It did not confirm an opening date but said its preparations to reopen sites have been “informed” by social distancing measures at its Waitrose supermarkets, which have traded throughout the pandemic.
John Lewis stores have been closed to the public since the lockdown was announced in March.
The Government has now said department stores are among non-essential retailers that will be able to open to customers from June 15.
The safety of our customers and partners will govern everything we doJohn Lewis Partnership
John Lewis said it will reduce the number of entrances and cap the number of shoppers in its stories as part of new safety measures.
It said it will also have “customer service hosts” who will be assigned to welcome customers, answer questions and manage queues in busy areas of shops.
John Lewis said it will also reduce the availability of customer services, such as beauty services, which will no longer offered, while fitting rooms will also be shut until further notice.
In a statement, John Lewis Partnership said: “Our plan sees us open our shops on a phased basis to enable us to test the changes we are introducing and ensure the best and safest customer and partner experience.
“The safety of our customers and partners will govern everything we do and we are prepared to readjust our plan and make changes as we go to make sure we get it absolutely right and continue adhering to evolving Government guidelines.”
Last month, the retail group warned John Lewis annual sales could plunge by 35% in a worst-case scenario as a result of the outbreak.
Sources close to the company told PA in April that it started discussions on which department stores should keep their doors closed permanently, with it “highly unlikely” that all 50 stores would reopen.