Britain's John Lewis set to shut more stores

John Lewis says more of its department stores will close down permanently.

It comes after the group's record costs and previous shop closures pushed it to an annual pre-tax loss on Thursday (March 11).

The firm, which operates 42 John Lewis stores, permanently closed eight last July, impacting 1,300 jobs.

It's been grappling with the fallout from the health crisis.

The company said it's in talks with landlords, with final decisions expected by the end of March.

Its chairman described the situation as "the greatest scale of change in the Partnership's 156-year history."

John Lewis shops are now held on its balance sheet at almost half the value they were before write downs this year and last.

The employee-owned group, which also owns the Waitrose supermarket chain, said the outlook is uniquely uncertain as the country charts its exit from the latest lockdown.

It reported a pretax loss of $721 million for the year ending January 30th, hurt by exceptional costs related to the store closures.

The firm is targeting deeper cost cuts by 2023.