This is a very real bombshell for Sheffield, even though, for many years, well before COVID-19 I did think how are John Lewis able to keep this store open. For when I did go in there were virtually no customers. But it did appear to survive, but that survival is no more.
With John Lewis going, on top of Debenhams, even though I did not care for Debenhams, but many more people did, I can’t see what is left in Sheffield City Centre, except Marks and Spencer. However, one substantial store does not make a successful city centre. This does not say that there are not many smaller shops within the City Centre, but a few big named stores are essential to pull in visitors. A few years the City Council said that Primark was a lead store in The Moor development, but while many do like Primark, this store is nowhere to be placed in the league of John Lewis, let alone Marks and Spencer.
A very sad day for all the Partners in John Lewis and my thoughts are with you all, but where does it lead for the finances through Business Rates for Sheffield City Council?
Without any further delay the current Tory Government needs to repay all that was withdrawn from the Government Grants to Sheffield due to 10 years of Austerity Cuts, let alone the additional costs related to COVID-19, which the Government promised to cover. It has covered some of the costs, but not all.
Sheffield is not alone in this financial disaster, but Sheffield is my home and therefore the one Council I feel most about.