BOSSES at John Lewis are deciding which department stores should stay shut permanently once the coronavirus lockdown ends, it has been reported.

It is “highly unlikely” that all 50 sites will reopen, it was reported by PA.

The company pioneered the John Lewis At Home brand at Poole Retail Park in Branksome.

John Lewis is also one of the flagship tenants at Southampton’s Westquay Shopping Centre. Its store there was relaunched last autumn as an experimental "concept shop" after a £3million investment.

The John Lewis Partnership, which includes Waitrose, saw profits fall by nearly a quarter in its last financial year to £122.6m, which it said was a “weaker performance than hoped for”.

Since March 15, sales at John Lewis have fallen by 17 per cent, with department stores closed but online sales rocketing by 84 per cent. Sales at Waitrose have risen by eight per cent since January 6.