JOHN Lewis is preparing for a phased reopening of its department stores.

It did not say when the stores – which include its anchor store at Southampton's Westquay Shopping Centre – would reopen.

The government intends to allow non-essential shops to open from June 15.

The John Lewis Partnership said its preparations have been "informed" by social distancing measures at its Waitrose supermarkets, which have traded throughout the pandemic.

It said it would reduce the number of entrances to stores and will put caps on the number of people able to shop at one time as part of new safety measures.

In a statement, the John Lewis Partnership said: "We have been preparing to reopen our John Lewis stores, informed by what we have learnt from the social distancing measures the partnership has taken in Waitrose.

"Our plan sees us open our shops on a phased basis, to enable us to test the changes we are introducing and ensure the best and safest customer and partner experience.

"The safety of our customers and partners will govern everything we do and we are prepared to readjust our plan and make changes as we go to make sure we get it absolutely right and continue adhering to evolving government guidelines."