John Lewis will be the largest store at the new Westfield Stratford City shopping centre. It will also be the first new London department store opened by John Lewis for 20 years. The company is well known for doing extensive research into an area before opening a new store and they had wanted to open a new store in East London for a while. The launch of the Olympic regeneration project in Stratford and the arrival of the brand new Westfield shopping centre gave them the perfect opportunity to do that.
The retail unit reserved from the start of the project by John Lewis is an impressive 240,000 sq ft and will enable the department store to offer over 350,000 lines of products including fashion, furniture, homeware, electrical, toys and gifts. The store will not only be impressive by its size, it will also impress visitors by its design. The front of the store looking out onto the Olympic Park is an amazing display of blue glass. The flagship store will also offer a relaxing terrace with The Place to Eat and an Espresso Bar.
At present, the John Lewis Stratford City store is packed with shopfitters, builders, decorators and electricians and they will soon be replaced by permanent staff. The store itself will create 750 new jobs in Stratford and many of these new jobs will go to local people. John Lewis has also worked with education providers in Stratford to provide pre-employment courses in key skills areas such as retail and customer service to make sure that new recruits are properly trained and can make the most out of their new careers. The local community will also benefit from some dedicated display space on the fourth floor which can be used to show off local projects.
Noel Saunders, managing director of John Lewis Stratford City, has also reserved a large part of the store for a dedicated Olympic shop. The list of new shops opening at Westfield Stratford City is impressive but John Lewis will clearly by a focal point within the shopping centre. The store will also transform Stratford into a destination.
The total cost of the project for John Lewis will be close to £40 million but the department store has a history of working for the long term and it will certainly be a great success.