THE RECENT announcements from John Lewis have been bittersweet for the town this week, with Reading happy to hear that the central store is preparing to reopen, but feeling the risk to the high street hitting home with the closure of the Newbury branch.
Delighted readers breathed a sigh of relief at the news that Reading’s John Lewis will reopen as many other succumb to the effects of Covid-19 and the period of lockdown.
It was announced by the company on Thursday (July 9) that the Broad Street store has survived to open doors again on July 30.
The news wasn’t so positive everywhere though, with nearby Newbury ‘John Lewis at Home’ store among those closing for good – an announcement which has also saddened many locals.
John Lewis fans had been anticipating a statement from the company as it became clear that not all stores would reopen.
Responding to the update, Shirley Dee said: “That’s the best news, so pleased” while Claire Lloyd said: “So glad. Reading wouldn’t be Reading without ‘Heelas’”.
Jo Smith said it was “the best news ever” and Terry Parmenter added: “Classy shop. Great for Reading.”
Jane Brigham simply said: “That is great news”, echoed by Rachel Lord who said: “Brilliant news.”
Reacting to the new on The Chronicle, Craig Norman said: “Long live Heelas!” and Poonam Barot Kanabar commented: “Wow.. so chuffed.”
Despite the positive outcome for Reading though, it is clear that the already struggling high street, coupled with the effects of lockdown, has concerned residents, and many also expressed their dismay about the Newbury store in Parkway shopping centre.
Cathy Elston commented: “Sadly, the ones in Swindon and Newbury will close” while Dorothy Prowse added: “Sad to hear this news as Newbury store is a lovely shop and great to wander round, with quality stock and lots of choices.”
Helen Anderson expressed how customers need to change the way they shop if they want to help the high street, adding: “People need to start shopping in shops to keep them on the high street.”