Head of branch announced for John Lewis Birmingham as opening is confirmed

Thursday 31 July 2014

The £35 million department store will be headed up by Lisa Williams and will open in September 2015

John Lewis has today announced that Lisa Williams will become head of branch at its regional flagship department store in Birmingham and the shop will open alongside the rest of the Grand Central development in September 2015. John Lewis has invested £35 million in the 250,000 sq ft department store, which will be one of the largest outside London.

Lisa is currently head of branch at John Lewis High Wycombe and this month celebrates 25 years since she first joined the John Lewis Partnership. Lisa replaces Kim Lowe who was initially appointed head of branch when the retailer was working to an earlier opening date. Kim has since taken up a role as head of branch at John Lewis Bluewater, one of the retailer's largest shops.

Born in Shirley, this new role will see Lisa return to her family base in Birmingham. Lisa has worked at John Lewis in a variety of customer facing roles. She started her career as a part time selling assistant at John Lewis Milton Keynes and has since worked her way up through a number of operational roles at eight of the retailer's shops including Sheffield, Cribbs Causeway and Bluewater.

Lisa has been head of branch at John Lewis High Wycombe for the past three years and in the last 18 months oversaw the retailer's largest redevelopment investment of 2013 when the shop received a £16million pound refurbishment programme. The upgrade created 200 new jobs within the Partnership and has led to sales growth of 27% at the shop.

The retailer will be the anchor tenant of the Grand Central Birmingham shopping experience and is set to be the most conveniently located department store in the UK; it will sit directly above Birmingham New Street station, the busiest railway station outside of London, and as part of Grand Central will provide a quality retail offer right at the heart of the city.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis said: 'Lisa is perfectly placed to ensure John Lewis Birmingham delivers the excellent standards and service that our customers expect. She brings a breadth of experience as a leader and a fantastic track record of managing external relationships to this exciting and demanding role and I wish her every success.

'Our aspiration is for John Lewis Birmingham to become the cornerstone of wider regeneration in the south side of the city centre and to deliver a legacy of real quality and value to the area. We are also very pleased to confirm an opening date, and look forward to presenting our new regional flagship department store to the shopping public of Birmingham.'

Lisa Williams added: 'I'm absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new challenge in the UK's second largest city. I look forward to establishing our regional flagship shop in the centre of Birmingham and in the heart of the local community.

'This new role brings me back to Birmingham where I was brought up and where most of my family and friends still live. I can't wait to recruit a new team of Partners and reveal the shop to our customers during September 2015.'

John Lewis has held an ambition to open in Birmingham for many years and is looking forward to expanding its reach to customers across the region for the first time, providing them with more convenient access to their inspiring products and great service. The retailer will bring with it more than 350,000 products including fashion, furniture, homewares, beauty and the latest technology to the city.

Notes to editors

John Lewis operates 42 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores, 10 John Lewis at home and a shop at Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com. It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 30,000 staff are Partners in the business.

John Lewis, 'Multichannel Retailer of the Year 2014'¹, 'Best Overall Retailer'² and 'Best Retailer 2014'³, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com stocks over 280,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. (www.johnlewis.com). John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

¹ Oracle Retail Week Awards 2014
² Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2014
³ Which? Awards 2014


For further information please contact:

Emma Moran
Senior Press Officer, John Lewis
Telephone: 020 7592 6058
Email: emma_moran@johnlewis.co.uk