A temporary cessation of business will see John Lewis close all 50 of its stores from today, the first time in the department store's 155-year history that it has been forced to do so – although online trading at Johnlewis.com will continue as normal.
Frontline staff will transition, where possible, to manning 338 Waitrose stores, which have been besieged by shoppers stocking up on essential goods.
A similar rationale has prompted both McDonald’s and Nando’s to indefinitely shutter 1,270 and 400 restaurants respectively, with Costa Coffee following suit by the close of play today.
Previously McDonald’s had sought to ride out the storm by closing seating areas to focus on its takeaway business as part of efforts to facilitate social distancing requirements.
Another casualty of the unprecedented crisis is Primark which has bowed to plunging consumer demand by closing all 189 UK stores 'until further notice'.
Chairwoman Sharon White said: “The partnership has traded for over 155 years, during which time we have faced many difficult periods, including two world wars and the 2008 financial crisis. On every occasion, thanks to our customers and partners, and the long-standing relationships with our suppliers and stakeholders, we have emerged stronger.”