John Lewis today announced plans to open a 100,000 sq ft department store in York as early as autumn 2013. The flexible format shop is due to be located in the new Monks Cross development, owned by Oakgate.
John Lewis plans to invest more than £15 million in the new shop which will boost local employment with the creation of around 300 new jobs.
The flexible department store concept provides John Lewis with another option for showcasing a range of John Lewis products in locations throughout the country, with shops averaging 65,000 to 100,000 sq ft. On average, John Lewis major department stores have a selling space of 132,000 sq ft, and 'at home' shops an approximate 40,000 sq ft.
The new flexible format department store in York will highlight Fashion, Home and Consumer Electronics' concepts in an inspiring and contemporary retail setting and will be designed to maximise the opportunity for multi-channel shopping whilst ensuring customers have access to a comprehensive John Lewis assortment in the shop.
Andy Street, Managing Director John Lewis comments, 'There is a huge potential, and a clear demand from customers, for John Lewis to expand into more key locations in the UK. Our new format shops allow us to forge ahead with our growth plans to introduce John Lewis branches and our full-line assortment to cities and towns like York.'
'We are still committed to opening more regional full line shops, and would always want to lead in a new region with our flagship offer. But in a city like York, where we already have many loyal customers who know our brand and travel long distances to our shops, the new format provides a much more convenient shopping opportunity. By bringing these growth opportunities into communities such as York, John Lewis will create more than 300 jobs for local people. We are committed to continuing to invest in 'bricks and mortar', particularly as we know that new shops stimulate our brand presence and online sales.'
Tim Harrison, head of format development for John Lewis says, 'These new smaller department stores allow us to open in places we've wanted to trade in for years. Our local customers have been travelling to our regional stores at Sheffield and Newcastle, and the new shop in Monks Cross will plug the gap in that regional offer. We have long wanted to have a presence in York but have not been able to find a site or retail-led scheme which we felt was viable and deliverable within our timescales. We look forward to providing shoppers with greater convenience and ease of access to our inspiring products, great value and exceptional service.'
Richard France, Managing Director of Oakgate said 'By agreeing terms for the Monks Cross development, John Lewis has given York a massive vote of confidence in what is a challenging time for retail. Its participation in our proposed scheme will enable a new community stadium and facilities to be built for the people of York, whilst bringing the best retail the UK has to offer to add to the already immensely diverse shopping experience the City provides. This high quality development will bring a range of high quality local jobs across an extremely wide spectrum. Something that should be welcomed by all.'
John Lewis is on track to open five shops in 2012, including John Lewis at home shops in Newbury and Chichester plus the first flexible format department store in Exeter.
An outline planning permission has been submitted for the proposed development. The retailer is being represented by Cushman & Wakefield and Ashworths Chartered Surveyors.