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John Lewis in Ashford to reopen today

A huge John Lewis store is reopening this morning after escaping the chop.

Ashford's two-storey 'at home' branch has remained closed since lockdown was eased, sparking fears it would stay permanently shut.

John Lewis in Ashford is reopening today
John Lewis in Ashford is reopening today

But the Fougeres Way shop, which created 125 jobs when it opened in 2013, will welcome customers again from 10am this morning.

The reopening day, which was revealed earlier this month, will see a new timetable implemented.

The store will open from 10am until 6pm on weekdays, and 11am until 5pm on Sundays.

Branch manager David Reid said: ""I am delighted to welcome [customers] back to John Lewis & Partners, Ashford.
"We have been working hard to create a safe environment in order to protect you and our Partners, so we are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back soon."

The store is the third Kent outlet to reopen after lockdown. Picture: Paul Amos
The store is the third Kent outlet to reopen after lockdown. Picture: Paul Amos

The Ashford store is the third John Lewis store to reopen in Kent, after the county's other stores in Tunbridge Wells and Bluewater reopened last month.

While Kent's stores have survived, eight other outlets – including two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford – will not reopen, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

Four 'at home' shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth will also remain closed, as well as two travel hub shops at Heathrow and St Pancras.

Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult and today’s announcement will come as very sad news to customers and partners.

"However, we believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the partnership – and continue to meet the needs of our customers however and wherever they want to shop.

"Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult"

"Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many partners as possible within our business."

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The national homeware giant was expected to fill a store on the yet-to-be-built Drovers Retail Park, but it has now been replaced by discount retailer Home Bargains.

A Costa Coffee drive-thru and five other shops are also planned.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford


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