Department store chain John Lewis has announced today that it is to open a number of stores in a new format with localised product mixes.
A statement from the company confirms that these new stores will be between 65,000 sq ft and 100,000 sq ft, smaller than its standard department stores but bigger than it’s ‘at home’ shops, and will be geared to support multichannel shopping.
The first of these outlets will open in Exeter city centre next year and will primarily focus on fashion, home and consumer electronics product lines.
Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis, said: “There is a huge potential, and a clear demand from customers, for John Lewis to expand into more key locations in the UK.
“This new flexible approach to the size of our shops allows us to forge ahead with our growth plans to introduce John Lewis branches and our full-line assortment to cities and towns where we have long wanted to have a presence.”
Sales have been inconsistent for John Lewis so far this year and last week trading grew 3.7 per cent year-on-year thanks primarily to its London branches and a strong online performance.
In results published today it was revealed that 22 of its 28 UK stores which have been open more than a year saw sales rise in the seven days ending July 16th, compared to the same period in 2010.
Business at Johnlewis.com shot up 31.3 per cent in week however and the mutual retailer obviously hopes that the additional new format stores unveiled today will help boost click & collect trade.
Around 300 new jobs will be created when the new Exeter outlet opens in 2012 and with ten other locations already identified for the new bespoke stores John Lewis hopes to employ an extra 3,000 people in the next few years.
Street continued: “The introduction of new, flexible format branches is in addition to our at home format and we aspire to have ten of these open by the end of 2012.
“Only recently we announced that we had plans to build an at home in Ashford, Kent, to be open in autumn next year. We also remain focussed on pushing forward with our plans to open more full line department stores in new regions across the UK.
“John Lewis is committed to continuing to invest in ‘bricks and mortar’, particularly as we know that new shops stimulate our brand presence and online sales in areas where we trade.”