The Mail on Sunday has reported that John Lewis has plans for reopening its shops that it will be ready to activate within weeks.
Andrew Murphy, John Lewis Partnership's executive director of operations, said the chain could begin reopening some stores as soon as the middle of May.
Murphy reportedly said that learning from 'essential' grocer Waitrose had been a significant advantage. However, he stressed that the company would wait for a signal from the Government and health chiefs before triggering the operation.
According to the statement published by the Mail on Sunday, Murphy said: “For the last four or five weeks the crisis has been intense, and the demands have meant we've been dealing with circumstances changing almost daily. Over the past seven to ten days there has been a shift. For the first time we have been properly beginning to think about a restart.”
The plan to reopen the 50-store chain would take three to six weeks to complete.
The Mail on Sunday said that John Lewis is “modelling for scenarios where different sizes of shops are able to open at different points in time”.
Murphy said: “Even in a scenario where we are theoretically able to open all our shops on the first day, we wouldn't do that. We would open in a minimum of three tranches.”
The store with large car parks would most likely be able to open earlier than those that required staff to rely on public transport, as staff would be able to safely drive themselves to work, adhering to safe distancing guidelines. It is understood that John Lewis has around 20 stores in that category.
An option being considered is to use private buses to get staff to and from work if public transport restrictions set out by the government prove disruptive to the plan.
Larger stores such as London, Birmingham or Glasgow would be likely to remain closed until the later phases of the revival strategy. Murphy said details of its strategy were likely to change before the launch and no date had been set.