John Lewis Exeter
At Home in Exeter
The Partnership initially intended to open a ‘John Lewis At Home’ store in the centre of Exeter. These plans were made public in the Gazette of the 5th November 2010. Although they were the proud owners of a large and booming branch in Cribbs Causeway, the Partnership had not until this point ventured any further into the South West of England. Armed with the new, flexible ‘At Home’ format, the opportunity had certainly arisen to put this right. A Waitrose in Exeter had laid the foundations for a Partnership conquest of Exeter, and now the chance had arrived for a full-on assault.
The sound idea of an ‘At Home’ store in Exeter was soon replaced by another, entirely new ambitious plan. ‘John Lewis Exeter’ was to pioneer and pilot a brand new concept, a bespoke, flexible format shop, effectively bridging the gap between ‘At Home’ shops and the current department stores.
‘John Lewis Exeter’ would be the first of ten proposed flexible format stores to open nationwide. The new format would stock edited highlights from the full John Lewis assortment, specifically tailored to individual locations. Access points throughout the store would allow full access via johnlewis.com. The new format stores could range vastly in size because of their very individual nature, and this in turn allowed for a whole range of previously untouchable locations to become available.
The Exeter branch would feature five floors of selling space, highlighting fashion, beauty, electronics and home.
Pop-Up and Countdown
The countdown started as the opening day of Exeter was announced as Friday 12 October. Excitement was mounting in Devon and Cornwall, whose population had to this point been denied of the department store’s delights. By July, work on the shop-fitting was well underway.
In order to raise awareness of the Partnership in the weeks before opening, the first ever John Lewis ‘pop-up’ shop was opened on Exeter High Street. Open for six weeks, the shop previewed some of the products available in ‘John Lewis Exeter’, including John Lewis’s newest womanswear range. It also gave customers the opportunity to browse the whole product range, through the medium of the online kiosks.