John Lewis Norwich and beyond

The interior of Bonds adjourns the Gazette front cover
The interior of Bonds adjourns the Gazette front cover
Bonds becoming John Lewis Norwich, 2001
Bonds becoming John Lewis Norwich, 2001
The newly branded John Lewis Norwich
The newly branded John Lewis Norwich

Programme of extension

The Partnership takeover of Bonds was a massive upheaval for both the staff and the customers, who had been very much used to the cosy running of a family business; but change continued to come. In 1987, a major programme of extending the selling space was announced, coupled with plans for the construction of a multi-storey car-park and the conversion of some adjacent properties into office space. Original deadlines for completion of the work were Christmas 1990.

New layout, new Bonds

By 1988, the first two phases, the cottage conversions and the multi-storey car park, were complete. This paved the way for the third stage of extension, the selling space, to begin in a bid to alleviate the current cramped selling conditions. By October 1990, work was complete. The new Bonds looked incredible. Selling space had been increased by almost 40%, a new Place To Eat restaurant was installed to cater for hungry customers. Such changes propelled Bonds into the new century with ease.

A new century

At the dawn of the new century, it was starting to become apparent that although the store had responded with ease to increases in interest and custom, some in Norwich had not adapted so well to the Partnership takeover. By 2001, it was felt they were not making a link between Bonds and John Lewis so when a decision was reached in November 2001 to adopt 6-day trading and open on Mondays it was also seen as the right time to change the name from Bonds to John Lewis Norwich.

Becoming John Lewis Norwich

The branch council unanimously supported the name-change proposal, as by this point John Lewis had become such a nationally recognised brand. Changes to signage and packaging had to occur to achieve the change. Members of the Bond family, including Richard Bond, grandson of the founder and chairman of the company upon the Partnership’s takeover, helped mark the name change. As the founding family came together with the Partnership, it was a symbolic representation of the start of a new era, and the start of a bright future for Norwich.

2012 refurbishment

In 2012, a £7 million refurbishment project for John Lewis Norwich was completed. With an expanded, rejuvenated shop-floor installed, the foundations are in place for the store to go from strength to strength in upcoming years.

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