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Shoppers queue for John Lewis relaunch
SHOPPERS queued outside the grand glass entrance of John Lewis as excited partners unveiled the store's long-awaited clothing department.
John Lewis High Wycombe's Managing Director Lisa Williams cut the ribbon following a speech to her colleagues before shoppers were ushered in to the refitted store.
The shop has been extended by 35,000sq feet and given a fresh look as part of a £16m refurbishment – the biggest investment made by the retailer this year – in what is John Lewis’ 25th year in Wycombe.
Mrs Williams said: “It feels incredible to be able to relaunch the store, it’s one of my proudest moments. I was trying to take it all in when I was driving here this morning; it’s very emotional seeing it come together so beautifully.
“The partners have been incredible; they have gone far beyond what we normally ask them. We have an overnight team but some of them have been going on three hours kip and then back in again to make all this happen.
“It has been 25 years since we opened here and I’m confident that customers will enjoy the newly refurbished shop for another 25 years to come.”
The store has taken on 200 new partners, expanded some of its most popular departments and added new ones, in the shape of the haberdashery, kitchens and bathrooms, and nursery.
But the main attraction is the fashion department, which finally ends the retailer’s long battle to be able to sell clothes in the town.
First through the door was Celina Jones, who made the journey over from Twyford.
She said: “It’s really good, I had to be here to have a look at 9am and it really has made my day as it now means I don’t have to go in to Oxford Street or over to Reading for clothes, which this shop was lacking.”
Sandra Smith from Lane End said: “It’s very nice from what I have seen so far.”
However, shoppers and partners had to be torn away from the new look store at about 9.30am for five minutes following a false fire alarm.
A customer event to celebrate the completion of the refurb will be held tomorrow, when Ms Williams will be joined by Sir Stuart Hampson, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire.
The first 400 customers through the doors on the day will be treated to a glass of bubbly. Customer competitions will also be running throughout the day.
Photos to come later today.
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