The news comes as it prepares to open 10 more sites on July 16th, including its flagship store on Oxford Street. The other reopenings are Basingstoke, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Chester, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Stratford and the Trafford Center in Manchester.
Up to 19 stores may be ready for cutting, although the partnership said many of those currently closed will open over the summer.
Early in the pandemic, insiders warned that it was unlikely that all department stores would reopen after the blockade closed.
The partnership cut costs by £ 100 million, including reduced advertising spending that endangers its annual tear-off Christmas TV advertisement.
It also invested 14,000 employees in a taxpayer-supported subsidy program, more than half of John Lewis’ workforce. Waitrose employs around 51,000 people. It is also saving millions of pounds although a one year vacation from business rates.
Dame Sharon said: “We went into crisis with a weakening of profits and we took several actions to preserve the money.
“Government support was a great help: they paid most of our delivery costs and gave us a discounted vacation.
“Trade was also not as bad as our worst case scenario thanks to hard work from our partners. However, when our competitors reopen, we expect trade to be tougher in the second half of the year.”
The stores that risk not to reopen are Aberdeen, Ashford, Birmingham, Brent Cross, Chichester, Croydon, Heathrow, Leicester, Newbury, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading, Sheffield, St Pancras, Swindon, Swindon Outlet, Tamworth, Watford and White City.
As a sign that the crisis is also affecting luxury retailers, Harrods is also closing around 700 jobs.
CEO Michael Ward told staff in a statement: “Due to the ongoing impacts of this pandemic, we as a company will have to reduce our workforce.
“I’m sorry to say that after exploring all the available options, we now recognize that we need to make changes to our operational structure.”
Separately, Arcadia said: “We are deeply sorry for the impact this will have on affected individuals and will do everything we can to support them.”