Department store owner John Lewis is planning to cut jobs and stores in an effort to slash costs.
The firm said it had come to terms with the fact it has too much store space.
The news was first shared with staff at the company, which is owned by its employees.
The number of stores and jobs affected has yet to be decided, John Lewis said. Cuts could also include the smaller of its two head office buildings in London.
“The reality is that we have too much store space for the way people want to shop now and we have shared this with our Partners,” the company said in a statement.
“As difficult as it is, it is highly unlikely we will reopen all our John Lewis stores. However no decision has been made and any details would be shared with Partners first by the middle of July.”
The news was first reported by the Evening Standard, which obtained a copy of the memo to staff.
It follows a warning from the company in March that it could close shops, as a plunge in profits forced it to cut staff bonuses to their lowest level in almost 70 years.
The retailer, which also owns Waitrose, launched a review of the business which it said would involve “right sizing” its stores across both brands.