John Lewis is being forced to scale back its expansion as many plans for new shopping centres are shelved by developers.

The department store chain had planned to open eight stores over the next few years but according to The Financial Times some of these will now be postponed.

John Lewis said that dates for developments in Oxford, Leeds, Preston, Sheffield, Sprucefield, Northern Ireland, Crawley and Portsmouth were unclear.

Plans for its Dublin store are understood to be progressing well.

It said that it may build smaller shops, which would be around 100,000 sq ft – about a third smaller than its typical stores.

Hammerson and Westfield are just two developers that have delayed developments as the credit crunch tightens its grip on funding.

Westfield said yesterday that the time frames for planned shopping centres in Bradford and Guilford could be extended.

Hammerson is also expected to postpone its Eastgate Quarter project in Leeds and its£600m Sevenstone development in Sheffield.