The new, much anticipated, John Lewis store opened recently in Westfield’s White City £600m extension so we couldn’t resist checking it out.
While not as large as the Oxford Street store, this new flagship still boasts an impressive 230,000 sq ft of retail space over 4 floors (that’s almost 4 Wembley stadium pitches!). And at £33m, it’s not a cheap way to open the brand’s 50th store. So has the investment been worth it?
Westfield has dramatically extended the centre so it’s now officially the largest shopping centre in Europe with the John Lewis store a very definite anchor. We entered through the centre where the approach is pretty impressive. Located at one end of the new aisle under a magnificent glass roof, the store sits proudly, more reminiscent of a religious pilgrimage destination than a retail unit.
The entrance on the first floor is flanked by 4 window displays, each displaying a simple, bright and strong display in the iconic John Lewis style with the rallying cries of their summer campaign, ‘Time to pump up the lilo’ and ‘Time to burn the sausages in the garden’… where do we sign up?!
On entering, the usual mix of curated fashion, beauty and home brands are available but what’s really striking is the obvious attempt to make the store feel like a true experience as opposed to a mere functional space. One of the ways John Lewis have done this is with the emphasis on service and experience as a key differentiator. And the addition of 23 bespoke services including lingerie fitting, technical support, personal styling, home design, opticians and beauty spa treatments definitely make for a dazzling mix of options designed to encourage behaviour beyond the traditional ‘in and out shop’ to a planned ‘afternoon out’ destination.
Managing Director, Paula Nickolds says they wanted to create “a place to shop, do and learn under one roof… a new level of personalised, curated shopping which until how has been the preserve of boutique shops.” And we think John Lewis has certainly delivered on that promise.
There are daily fashion talks in the Style Studio, cookery classes in The Demo Kitchen, craft classes and interior design talks in The Discovery Room, to name but a few. And this is before you venture into the supremely chilled Sleep Studio to test mattresses, explore the Smart Home area or design your own rug and sofa to go with your unique flooring choice.
What John Lewis has successfully achieved is a great experience – we forgot we were in a busy West London shopping centre and happily bought into the personalised, service-driven experience. That’s when we headed to new bar, Smith and Sinclair for an edible cocktail.
John Lewis, we salute you. You have certainly not knowingly oversold this one!