JOHN Lewis has confirmed it will be reopening another 10 stores from next week, but it is still not known when shoppers can expect to return to Reading.

The group said branches reopening on Monday, July 13, include Basingstoke, Cardiff and Chester but did not list Reading as one of the stores.

The Guardian reported that the company confirmed it would not reopen some of its stores and industry insiders mentioned Newbury as one being considered for closure.

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When pressed to address the rumours of the Newbury store closing and an update on the reopening of Reading’s store, a spokesperson for John Lewis said: “The reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now and we have shared this with our Partners.

“As difficult as it is, we won’t reopen all our John Lewis stores.

“However we would never give specific details before sharing with Partners first."

Previously, when asked about stores remaining shut the company had said “no decision has been made and any details would be shared with partners first by the middle of July”.

The latest raft of stores reopening will take the total for the group so far to 32 since lockdown restrictions have eased for non-essential shops, with 18 remaining closed.

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Commenting on the reports that the Newbury store could be being considered for closure, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Newbury, Lee Dillon, said: “It is disappointing to see the Newbury John Lewis being mentioned for closure.

“Major brands and independent stores are both needed to maintain a healthy high street.

“If the store doesn't reopen then we need to ensure that the Partners are supported with finding new roles and we need to work with the landlord to make the best of use of the space in a key location within Newbury Town Centre.”