John Lewis celebrating success since Wycombe store revamp

Andy Street, MD of John Lewis

Andy Street, MD of John Lewis

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by

AFTER 25 years in business at High Wycombe, the John Lewis department store finally saw its fashion range arrive at the store in 2013 - and business has been booming ever since, says the shop, which believes the revamp is helping keeping trade in the Wycombe area.

The new-look store officially opened to the public in October, after a £16 refurbishment - the largest investment the retail chain made in any of its stores this year.

High Wycombe branch Managing Director Lisa Williams said: "Customer reaction has been hugely enthusiastic. We’ve got everything under one roof, that has been the major comment."

Andy Street, MD of the entire John Lewis chain, said the new-look store "is not a refurbishment, it’s a complete transformation".

Wycombe District Council put conditions on the store, preventing it from selling clothes and shoes, when it opened in 1987 in a bid to protect businesses in the town centre.

The council granted permission for the store to sell clothing last year, but this was still amid objections from House of Fraser and Eden’s management company that the move would have an adverse effect on town centre trade.

Mrs Williams said the additional ranges of stock have gone down well with customers: "Clothes have been massively well received and lots of the brands we have added have been a welcome addition. Jewellery has been a remarkable success. It’s all building really nicely."

She added that watches, electronic tablets and Furby toys has all proved swift sellers in the run-up to Christmas, with gift foods such as pannetone and a gingerbread house also doing well.

And they say the store’s cafe, The Place to Eat, is another success story - citing examples of customers who have spent the whole day at the store stopping at the eatery both for lunch and dinner.

Mr Street noted the store now carried a number of lines that are actually the only ones available in the area, notably cosmetics brands, and therefore shoppers no longer had to traipse out of town to buy them.

He said: "For Wycombe District Council that’s good news. Before, trade was looking out of the area, into London (for certain brands), but it doesn’t have to now.

"Lots of customers have told us there’s no need to go to London now."

To underline this message the store sent its so-called ‘Fashion Train’ to Marylebone Station around the time of the relaunch. There, it promoted Wycombe’s new-look store, and tried to make sure commuters knew about the new lines available.

The tactic seems to have paid off, with the store getting at least 60 beauty consultations as a result of the Marylebone initiative.

Mr Street said he never considered the £16m refurb to be a risky move: "This has been a high performing shop since we opened and the amount of customer demand to do what we have done has been deafening. We’re always very sure we’d get a return on our investment.

"I’m delighted with the Wycombe performance. This Christmas has exceeded expectations."

He believed the biggest impact of the transformation is that it has made the Wycombe branch a proper department store . He said: "John Lewis is 150 years old next year. The idea of a department store at the end of the 19th century was that your (needs) are all under one roof, and that is what we have here now."

The shop has taken on a total of 400 new employees since the revamp, although around half this figure are temporary Chritsmas staff.

And as, the store prepares for its sale, which starts tomorrow, Mr Street thought signs were looking good for the economic recovery. Across the chain, he said, sales of non-food items were up, while John Lewis was trading 4.5 per cent up, against a national figure of 2per cent.

Comments (8)

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10:37am Thu 26 Dec 13

firminafirm says...

£16 eh. They pushed the boat out then. Sloppy BFP again.
£16 eh. They pushed the boat out then. Sloppy BFP again. firminafirm
  • Score: 27

6:18pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Undercover Euro Yob says...

… a £16 refurbishment - the largest investment the retail chain made in any of its stores this year.

LOL!

(I hope the lampshade was from John Lewis)



Do you think there is any connection be

tween the departure of Steve Cohen, the increasing prevalence of firewalls and the fact that BFP journos seem half-asleep - is there some cataclysmic development on the way that will put them all out of a job and they don’t give a toss?
See: http://ojr.org/ojr/b
usiness/1062025099.p
hp
[italic]… a £16 refurbishment - the largest investment the retail chain made in any of its stores this year. [/italic] LOL! (I hope the lampshade was from John Lewis) Do you think there is any connection be tween the departure of Steve Cohen, the increasing prevalence of firewalls and the fact that BFP journos seem half-asleep - is there some cataclysmic development on the way that will put them all out of a job and they don’t give a toss? See: [italic] http://ojr.org/ojr/b usiness/1062025099.p hp [/italic] Undercover Euro Yob
  • Score: 6

6:20pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Undercover Euro Yob says...

TESTING:

Do you think there is any connection between the departure of Steve Cohen, the
TESTING: Do you think there is any connection between the departure of Steve Cohen, the Undercover Euro Yob
  • Score: 2

6:22pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Undercover Euro Yob says...

… a £16 refurbishment - the largest investment the retail chain made in any of its stores this year.

LOL!

(I hope the lampshade was from John Lewis)



Do you think there is any connection between the departure of Steve Cohen, the increasing prevalence of firewalls and the fact that BFP journos seem half-asleep - is there some cataclysmic development on the way that will put them all out of a job and they don’t give a toss?

See: http://ojr.org/ojr/b

usiness/1062025099.p
… a £16 refurbishment - the largest investment the retail chain made in any of its stores this year. LOL! (I hope the lampshade was from John Lewis) Do you think there is any connection between the departure of Steve Cohen, the increasing prevalence of firewalls and the fact that BFP journos seem half-asleep - is there some cataclysmic development on the way that will put them all out of a job and they don’t give a toss? See: http://ojr.org/ojr/b usiness/1062025099.p Undercover Euro Yob
  • Score: 4

12:21am Fri 27 Dec 13

BOOKERite says...

It is brilliant that they are at long last are able to sell clothing. (Shame on WDC for their protectionism over the last 25 years.) I do however think that some of the other departments have had to restrict their ranges. They also have to do something about answering their telephone quicker as I have had terrible problems getting through over the last few weeks.
It is brilliant that they are at long last are able to sell clothing. (Shame on WDC for their protectionism over the last 25 years.) I do however think that some of the other departments have had to restrict their ranges. They also have to do something about answering their telephone quicker as I have had terrible problems getting through over the last few weeks. BOOKERite
  • Score: 6

7:19am Fri 27 Dec 13

demoness the second says...

Some people spend the whole day there???
Lordy, some people have nothing better to do.
Some people spend the whole day there??? Lordy, some people have nothing better to do. demoness the second
  • Score: 5

10:45am Fri 27 Dec 13

geoffW says...

"The council granted permission for the store to sell clothing last year, but this was still amid objections from House of Fraser and Eden’s management company that the move would have an adverse effect on town centre trade."

Just like the Eden Centre decimated businesses in the High Street. Double standards from Eden management. Doesn't matter who we affect but should someone dare to compete with us we will cry something rotten.
"The council granted permission for the store to sell clothing last year, but this was still amid objections from House of Fraser and Eden’s management company that the move would have an adverse effect on town centre trade." Just like the Eden Centre decimated businesses in the High Street. Double standards from Eden management. Doesn't matter who we affect but should someone dare to compete with us we will cry something rotten. geoffW
  • Score: 4

1:13am Sat 28 Dec 13

Michael, HP7 says...

Q. Does the author of this latest BFP piece extolling the wonder that is John Lewis in Wycombe qualify for his staff discount by now?
Hmm
Michael, HP7
Q. Does the author of this latest BFP piece extolling the wonder that is John Lewis in Wycombe qualify for his staff discount by now? Hmm Michael, HP7 Michael, HP7
  • Score: 3

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