6th Spet 2012 Update: John Lewis have revealed plans to open department store instead of home store. The initial plans were to build a John Lewis at Home store, however, they are now planning an even larger store for Chelmsford. The department store will provide an additional 150 jobs the new “flexible format” store will provide one of the best shopping experiences in the region.
Original Report – April 2012:
The new John Lewis at Home store is due to open in Chelmsford in 2014. This will be the 12th John Lewis At Home store. The first one was built in Poole in 2009 and the most recent one opened just before Easter in Chichester.
The new John Lewis at Home store has given Chichester a much needed boost. When it opened just before Easter and immediately proved to be a great success with thousands of shoppers queuing and exploring the store on its opening day.
John Lewis at Home stores are the new format of John Lewis stores that were first introduced in 2009. These stores are usually located within larger shopping precincts and the stores sell a range of home products, such as electrical goods, home and technology products.
John Lewis at Home in Chelmsford City
The new John Lewis at Home store in the Chelmsford is being built by Aquila Developments Ltd. It is due to be constructed in the area between Gap and Superdrug on the High Street and Bond Street. Currently there is a large carp park in this area.
The store will be a part of a shopping centre costing £100m. It will include the John Lewis at Home store plus 20 other shops and five or six new cafes and restaurants, along with a basement car park including 280 spaces.
Construction work should start soon. It will take two years to complete. John Lewis hope that the new store will open in spring 2014.
New Jobs for Chelmsford
The new development will hopefully lead to 500 new full and part-time jobs in Chelmsford.
John Lewis at Home in the UK
There are currently 10 John Lewis at Home stores in the UK. The first to open was in Poole and the Chichester store is the most recent.
The Chichester store is at the Portfield Retail Park which also houses several other bug home store brands such as British Home Stores, Homebase, Currys, and Argos as well as several supermarkets.
Within the first few hours of the new Chichester store opening thousands of shoppers had passed through the doors. Unfortunately this is not all good news as the additional traffic led to queues of customers attempting to park and this has had a knock-on effect on Sainsburys.
Claire Dunkason, the new branch manager for Chichester, was very pleased with the first day of trading. She stated that John Lewis really could not have asked for a better first day than they had. John Lewis is now confident that it can position itself well in the growing community in Portsmouth.
We are still seeing more high street shops close down across Hampshire as rents continue to rise and edge shopkeepers out of the town centres. At the same time huge retailers are opening new out-of-town stores/ The future is not looking bright for the high street in Hampshire at the moment, although the increase in commerce is a relief to many.
Image source: Aquila Holdings