The grand opening of John Lewis Exeter

Photo:The frontage of John Lewis Exeter

The frontage of John Lewis Exeter

Photo:Customers tuck i at the new Place To Eat

Customers tuck i at the new Place To Eat

By Jonathan Blatchford

Worth the wait

John Lewis Exeter, the first of the Partnership’s flexible format shops, was opened on the 12th October 2012. The queues that swelled outside the department store were clear indications of customer excitement. Some had been waiting a long time to step into a John Lewis department store, including one customer who said she had been waiting for forty years. In The Place to Eat, 3126 hot drinks were served in two days, using over 200 pints of milk!

Purchases made from £5 to £4000

High value sales were aplenty on the first day, including a £4000 mattress, and £1400 buggy. The store also sold out of fake moustaches, retailing at £5! Branch Manager Kate Connock attributed this phenomenon to Exeter’s student population. At less than half the size of a standard Partnership store, the shop was certainly a new format. And yet, it was full-line, offering products either tangibly or via the johnlewis.com terminals littered around the shop.

Flexible Format given the thumbs up

The Partnership’s success in opening the Exeter branch was a significant moment for everyone involved for two reasons. Firstly, the Partnership had finally made it into the South-west of England, demonstrating once again the ability to successfully open a store where they previously had had no coverage. Secondly, John Lewis Exeter proved that the flexible format could work and would have a key part to play in the future of the John Lewis Partnership. Follow-up flexible stores were already being plannned for Chelmsford and York.

This page was added by Jonathan Blatchford on 19/08/2014.