John Lewis plans stores overhaul, giant shoe dept in Oxford Street branch

More details of John Lewis's new strategy have emerged following the announcement last week of a brand-new giant fashion line from the retailer.




A newspaper report said that the line’s launch in September will also come along with an overhaul at a number of its stores that will see the company opening attractions such as rooftop cocktail bars and pop-up cinemas. This is part of a plan to turn 15 of its locations into ‘pilot stores’ where it will experiment with new concepts. These stores will also offer classes and events, personal stylists, and certain concierge services, the Mail on Sunday reported.

The Oxford Street, London flagship store will also see major upgrade works that will include a multi-million pound spend on its 40,000 sq ft womenswear floor. The revamp will see the addition of a dedicated shoe room, reflecting the successful strategy that rival department stores with more of a luxury focus have taken, such as Selfridges just down the road in Oxford Street.

It seems that the retailer wants to move upmarket with its shoe offer and has struck a deal with Kurt Geiger to operate the enlarged shoe department. That’s a logical move as Kurt Geiger is the biggest name in this area, has huge experience operating shoe areas inside department stores, and also offers a very large selection of on-trend pieces from upper-mass price levels through to premium and higher.

The report said John Lewis MD Paula Nickolds is in direct charge of the chain’s overhaul. And as well as being the first woman to run the chain in its 154-year history when she took over last year, she will also therefore be in charge of what would be its biggest-ever strategy shift - apart from the one many decades ago when the son of its founder turned it into an employee-owned partnership from a privately-held company.

The womenswear launch, its new John Lewis & Partners line, will be its most important own-brand to-date and will see an investment of around £500 million.

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