Aberdeen’s John Lewis store will not reopen despite a campaign to save it from closure, the partnership has announced.
Earlier this year the high street giant announced plans to close its branch on George Street – the north-east’s last remaining department store – with the loss of up to 265 jobs.
A taskforce, including city council leaders and business chiefs, was set up in a bid to convince John Lewis executives to reconsider their decision.
However, the retailer has now confirmed it will not be returning to Aberdeen.
Staff’s ‘immense sadness’
Jamie Wishart, the head of branch for Aberdeen, said: “For the past 31 years, generations of partners have served Aberdeen and the surrounding communities with pride and love.
“It is therefore with immense sadness that our time here has come to an end. I would like to thank our customers for their loyalty and for the outpouring of support we have received in these past few months – it’s been both heartwarming and uplifting.
“Our partners throughout the years have also been a credit to our partnership and to our shop – they have made a difference to customers every day and they will continue to be supported over the coming months.
“Aberdeen is a special place and I wish the city every success in the future.”
Chain to support staff
Announcing the decision, John Lewis bosses insisted they would “support” employees unable to stay with the partnership.
This will include a £3,000 “retraining fund”, a three-month support programme and additional redundancy payments.
The news is another blow for Aberdeen, which has already lost retailers including Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins and Topshop in the last year.
A campaign to save the store, supported by the Evening Express and Press and Journal, was set up, while petitions calling for the branch to remain open gathered tens of thousands of signatures.