The John Lewis Partnership has warned of further shop closures after it reported pre-tax losses of £517m.
The company which has three John Lewis department stores and six Waitrose shops in Scotland said “there is no getting away from the fact” that some are unable to be sustained.
Last year, having reported a major drop in earnings, it was announced that eight stores would be permanently closed across the UK.
On Thursday, the company announced that it was in talks with landlords and a final decision on which stores would remain closed after lockdown is expected by the end of March.
Sharon Whyte, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: “Hard as it is, there is no getting away from the fact that some areas can no longer profitably sustain a John Lewis store.
“Regrettably, we do not expect to reopen all our John Lewis shops at the end of lockdown.
“Closing a store is one of the hardest decisions we can make as a partnership.”
The company said the dramatic loss in profits was down to the drop in value of physical stores as they accounted for less and less of the money spent by customers.
The partnership’s unaudited results for the year to January 2021 showed that the spending driven by shops had halved since before the pandemic – from £6 in every £10, to £3.
Last year, Waitrose in Helensburgh was closed on May 3 with the company saying it was not commercially sustainable.