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John Lewis store in Ashford may never reopen

A huge John Lewis store which only opened in 2013 may remain permanently closed.

Ashford's two-storey 'at home' branch has been shut since lockdown began with no reopening date in sight.

John Lewis in Ashford first opened in 2013
John Lewis in Ashford first opened in 2013

Now bosses at the department store chain say it is “highly unlikely” all of their sites will welcome customers again.

A report in The Times today suggests the John Lewis At Home shops, which include Ashford, are high on the list destined to close permanently.

A spokeswoman would not comment on the Ashford store specifically, but did provide a statement.

She said: "The reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now and we have shared this with our partners.

"As difficult as it is, it is highly unlikely we will reopen all our John Lewis stores.

Inside Ashford's John Lewis
Inside Ashford's John Lewis

"However no decision has been made and any details would be shared with partners first by the middle of July."

Kent's other John Lewis stores at Bluewater and Tunbridge Wells both reopened last month.

Ashford's shop - which is in Fougeres Way and created 125 jobs when it opened - cost £7m to build and goes across 40,000 sq ft.

The store was given planning permission in October 2011 but work started on the site in April 2013 after 18 months of delays.

It opened in November that year, featuring 196 car parking spaces and a 92-seat cafe which overlooks the busy Drovers roundabout.

Work on the site in August 2013
Work on the site in August 2013
The shop proved very popular on its first weekend in November 2013
The shop proved very popular on its first weekend in November 2013

In May, KentOnline revealed how The Range had dropped plans to open a huge shop on a new retail park next to John Lewis.

The national homeware giant was expected to fill a store on the yet-to-be-built Drovers Retail Park, but it has now been replaced by discount retailer Home Bargains.

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