JOHN Lewis is set to launch a fresh round of store closures, according to reports.

The department store giant – one of the key tenants at Southampton’s Westquay – is understood to be considering the closure of eight stores in a bid to cut its significant property costs.

The plan, first reported by the Sunday Times, comes only eight months after the retailer announced the closure of eight stores following the initial impact of the pandemic.

John Lewis, which currently operates 42 stores, is in the middle of a strategic shake-up aimed to increase the proportion of its sales made through its online channels.

The retail group has declined to comment on the reports.

John Lewis set to close all stores on Monday including Southampton

Partners will be updated on the company’s recent trading and its latest growth strategy in an announcement on Thursday March 11.

The reports come ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement on the “road map” out of current restrictions, with non-essential retailers currently predicted to reopen in April in some capacity.

John Lewis has been among retailers to report a surge in online sales but has continued to face a burden from its portfolio of large bricks and mortar stores.

John Lewis at Westquay Southampton unveils Christmas shop

The John Lewis Partnership, which also includes the Waitrose supermarket business, revealed plans last year to streamline its headquarters with about 1,500 job cuts.

The move is intended to help the business save around £50million as part of wider plans to reduce its total costs by £300m.