John Lewis premiered a new “flexible format” department store in Exeter on Friday in the first steps the company has made in its plans to accelerate growth.
The traditional John Lewis shop format has been mixed with it’s “At Home” style to offer consumers the full assortment of products within a smaller footprint.
Multiple selling channels will be used in-store, with interactive screens and digital store guides to provide product information and make the shopping experience quicker and easier.
The British retailer’s new opening has created around 300 jobs in the area, and more positions will open around the UK as John Lewis rolls out the new flexible style store countrywide. New store openings are planned for York next year and Chelmsford in 2014.
Shoppers queued outside the city centre Exeter shop before it opened on Friday morning, and 150 people came through the doors as soon as it opened.
The managing director of John Lewis, Andy Street, said: “This is the first of our full line flexible format department stores, a concept which means we can now consider opening shops in areas that were not always thought feasible for a traditional John Lewis department store building."
Tim Harrison, head of format development, John Lewis added: “We understand that customers now shop in many different ways.
“Over the coming months we will be looking at customer feedback and exploring how these initiatives can be enhanced and added to, not only for our shoppers in Exeter, but across the country in other John Lewis shops.”
Mr Street added: “We hope customers will be as delighted with the shopping experience that this new shop offers as we are.”