John Lewis opens first flexible storeMonday, 13 August 2012
John Lewis is to open its first flexible format department
store this autumn in Exeter in Devon. The site will be the most omni-channel shop to date for the John Lewis chain.
The project involves the conversion of an existing 1960s building which previously housed the city’s Debenhams department store. Externally, the most noticeable change will be the glazed 'curtain wall' expansion of the first, second and third floors into the shop's 'bull's nose', which was previously only one storey high.
Development construction manager David Goult said: "The challenge has been switching the build from an at home to a new flexible format shop. Exeter has a new interior design and shop-fit concept with a lot more omni-channel elements - some of which we've never used before or have never brought together in one branch."
With a traditional John Lewis department store measuring 155,000 sq ft, the 65,000 sq ft Exeter store will need to offer the retailer’s full assortment of products in less than half the space. To do this the store will use 960 'shoppable' visual merchandising boxes and give greater access to johnlewis.com across the shop floor to enable customers to benefit from the retailer’s omni-channel offer.
"The whole shop is a new concept," said retail implementation manager Gavin Smith. "Every assortment will be represented, but not in its full width on shelf; for example, one plate of each design will be displayed, with the rest of the range available to order online from a johnlewis.com terminal nearby."
Smith added: "As our first flexible format branch, Exeter is set to play a key role in John Lewis' future expansion plans."
The new store will open in October.