Iconic London Department Store Turns Retail Floors to Offices 

Iconic London Department Store Turns Retail Floors to Offices 

Bloomberg  | Oct 28, 2020 11:18

Iconic London Department Store Turns Retail Floors to Offices 

(Bloomberg) -- One of London’s most famous department stores is making room for a future beyond shopping.

John Lewis Partnership Plc has gained permission to convert the upper floors of its West End flagship store on Oxford Street into offices, a spokeswoman said by email. The decision by Westminster City Council comes as the government responds to the second wave of the coronavirus by imposing tighter restrictions on stores and restaurants in much of the U.K.

U.K. retailers have been battered by the pandemic, with lockdown and social-distancing measures keeping shoppers at home for months on end. London’s West End shopping and entertainment district has been hit hard as tourists disappeared and few office workers have returned to fill its restaurants and bars. Landlords including Shaftesbury Plc (LON:SHB), which owns a swathe of shops and restaurants in Soho, Carnaby Street and Chinatown, are struggling to collect rent from their retail tenants.

John Lewis is no exception. The company has been shuttering stores and building up its online operation to reach stuck-at-home shoppers. It foresees online retail sales accounting for as much as 70% of its total, compared with 40% before Covid-19 struck. As the company adapts to the virus and the long decline of traditional retail, it’s also building up its financial services business and expanding into rental housing.

London’s office market, by contrast, is showing signs of life. Large companies, from Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX). to Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), are in the process of undertaking big office moves that show demand for the biggest and best buildings is recovering from lockdown lows. Recent activity is mainly confined to large new developments, however, and as coronavirus restrictions tighten, there are still fears that vacancies could soar.

John Lewis hasn’t decided whether to turn the upper floors of its Oxford Street store into offices, the spokeswoman said. The building has a “surplus of non-selling space” compared with newer locations, and the company sought approval for the conversion to give it “greater flexibility” in how it uses that space.

Read more: City of London Firms Quietly Start to Rent Large Offices Again

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

© Bloomberg. A pedestrian crosses Oxford Street outside the John Lewis Partnership Plc department store in London.

Latest comments

Add a Comment
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Write a reply...
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.

Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

English (USA) English (India) English (Canada) English (Australia) English (South Africa) English (Philippines) English (Nigeria) Deutsch Español (España) Español (México) Français Italiano Nederlands Polski Português (Portugal) Português (Brasil) Русский Türkçe ‏العربية‏ Ελληνικά Svenska Suomi עברית 日本語 한국어 简体中文 繁體中文 Bahasa Indonesia Bahasa Melayu ไทย Tiếng Việt हिंदी
Sign out
Are you sure you want to sign out?
Saving Changes


Download the Investing.com App

Get free real time quotes, charts and alerts on stocks, indices, currencies, commodities and bonds. Get free top of the line technical analysis/predictors.

Investing.com is better on the App!

More content, faster quotes and charts, and a smoother experience is available only on the App.