John Lewis to reopen in Tunbridge Wells while Laura Ashley holds closing down sale

John Lewis to close Tunbridge Wells store
John Lewis in Tunbridge Wells is to close

The ‘at home’ store at the Kingstanding Business Park will reopen its doors on Thursday June 25, having been closed since lockdown began on March 23.


The retailer has already opened 13 department stores last week.

Berangere Michel, director for customer service at the John Lewis Partnership, which also owns Waitrose, said: “We are still reopening our shops carefully and in phases to ensure that our safety measures are absolutely right, and remain prepared to stop and review our plans if need be.

“We are already applying lessons learned from our first store openings earlier this week.

“We found that in some shops we were able to increase the number of customers and still maintain robust social distancing, and made our signage clearer in order to help customers navigate the changes.

“Although we are not able to offer every single experience that we used to, we are still managing to offer customers a really varied shopping experience that is as close to normal and as enjoyable as we can possibly make it.

“Customers will still be able to touch products, lie on beds, try on and test wipeable products such as sunglasses, prams, and tech products, and get the personal advice they expect from our partners.”

According to the retailer, sales of TVs have jumped as football returns to screens following lockdown, and with Fathers’ Day approaching sales of cards are also strong.

Meanwhile, Laura Ashley in Calverley Road is also expected to reopen by next week – in order that it can hold a closing down sale.

The fashion and furnishing giant fell into administration before lockdown.

Efforts by Laura Ashley chief executive, Katherine Poulter, to find a buyer for the retailer have failed.

Joint administrator and PwC partner, Rob Lewis, said: “We will, of course, provide all affected staff with the necessary support, which will include working with various agencies and employers who have vacancies.

“The company is continuing to trade to sell the stock on hand and we would like to extend thanks to all Laura Ashley employees for their continued support, service and cooperation both before and during the administration.”

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