By Kate Holton
LONDON (Reuters) – Two of the biggest names on the British high street said they would cut more than 5,000 jobs on Thursday after conceding that customers were unlikely to return to their old ways after the COVID-19 crisis upended retail.
Health and beauty chain Boots, owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance <WBA.O>, said it would cut 4,000 jobs and close 48 optician stores after shopper numbers plunged 85% in April at the height of the coronavirus lockdown.
John Lewis, middle England’s favourite department store, said it would close eight stores and lose a possible 1,300 jobs after it predicted that online sales would make up to 70% of its total sales this year and next, from 40% prior to the crisis.
“Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult,” said Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership. “However, we believe closures are necessary to help us secure