Local MP Maria Miller who attended the opening of the John Lewis store in Basingstoke just 6 years ago said, “It is difficult to understand why the management of John Lewis Partnership has decided to close a multimillion pound new build store in Basingstoke, just 6 years after opening it. The increase in online shopping was well underway when the planning application for this store was agreed; and the demographics of Basingstoke and North Hampshire haven’t changed, our population continues to grow significantly. The fact that the Waitrose store will remain open on the site is evidence of the continuing vibrancy of our local economy. And I very much welcome that the jobs of Waitrose staff are not affected.
“Whilst it is clear that department stores have been suffering from the impact of the pandemic and the accelerated move to online shopping, many of John Lewis’s customers will be left questioning the decision to spend a vast amount of money on such a large new building only to see it mothballed so quickly.
“The staff at the store have worked so hard to get it established. My thoughts are with them, particularly given the financial pressures families are under with the impact of the pandemic. I will be speaking to our local Job Centre to discuss the support that will be available for the staff affected.
“Many decisions around the redevelopment of Basing View were taken in light of the decision by John Lewis to site a store at that location. It is deeply regrettable that the management of John Lewis have not seen through their commitment to our town. But Basingstoke will bounce back, helped by the town centre redesign project commissioned by our local Borough Council which is already well underway.”