The chairman of John Lewis has told thousands of staff this week that a number of stores will close.

At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, sources warned that John Lewis would unlikely reopen all 50 of its stores.

This has now been confirmed in a letter, seen by the Evening Standard, by chairman Sharon White.

The Standard reported White as writing: "The difficult reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now.

"As difficult as it is, we now know that it is highly unlikely that we will reopen all our John Lewis stores.

"Regrettably, it is likely that there will implications for some Partners’ jobs. We are in active discussions with landlords about ending some leases and renegotiating others to make the terms more flexible."

White confirmed plans to close several unnamed shops, with staff to be informed in mid-July.

Staff bonuses will be ditched, the Standard reported, and one of its head offices in Victoria in London, which employs 450 people will also close, as part of a cost-saving drive.

Twenty-two John Lewis stores have reopened since non-essential retailers were given the green light to reopen on June 15 with distancing measures in place.

Plans to open a further 10 on July 13 were announced today - but branches in Watford and Brent Cross are not on this new list and the stores remain closed.

One of these 10 reopening is the intu-owned Trafford Centre in Manchester, despite intu going into administration last week.

John Lewis said it will open more of its shops later in the summer - intu Watford general manager Vicki Costello said in a Facebook Live with the mayor of Watford nearly two weeks ago that staff at the John Lewis Watford store were preparing for a reopening.

John Lewis has said it was sticking to its "safe, not fast" approach.

Berangere Michel, executive director for customer service at the John Lewis Partnership, added: "We are learning as we go and tweaking our approach to give our customers and partners the best possible experience.

"Feedback from customers is that they really enjoy being able to test and try out products such as tablets, mattresses and shoes, all in a safe environment, as well as asking our expert partners for advice."