There has been a big build up in Exeter for some time now about the arrival of John Lewis in the city. And since the opening of the Pop Up shop last month, the excitement has been incredible!
Well its nearly here! Tomorrow is the big day when the first John Lewis in the South-West will open. I was lucky enough to be invited along with Rachel for a sneaky look around before opening. The store is striking from the outside, and the John Lewis branding is visible across the city centre. You certainly won’t be able to miss the store!
When we visited, the store was full of busy John Lewis Partners working away to get the store ready. Some parts looked ready for customers, others were a little further away but we were assured everything will be perfect for Friday morning!
This is a different type of store for John Lewis, its much smaller than their standard Department Stores and is a trial for them. If it is a success, being able to house a John Lewis in a smaller store would allow them to open up a huge wish list of cities that they could open in.
To keep a full range in a smaller store needed some creative thinking, and 75% of the fixtures and fittings in the Exeter store are new styles for John Lewis. New design ideas are being trialled here including open industrial ceilings and wallpaper accents on the walls. All in all this give a very different feel to this John Lewis.
As their are less products stocked in this smaller store, there is a big emphasis on Click and Collect. If you order online by 7pm you can collect from 2pm the following day. Around the store are a number of browse points where you can see and buy from the full range of John Lewis products. I was pleased to see a lot of homeware including some furniture, and a fabulous children’s department. There is a nursery section too complete with trained advisors to help you pick the right products.
The clothing floors seemed almost ready, with a great assortment of brands most of which are not available elsewhere in Exeter. Both menswear and ladieswear looked great. I was really pleased to see that there was a spacious feel to the store, and plenty of room for buggies and wheelchairs around all the products.
The top floor houses the restaurant, which will serve a range of hot and cold food, drinks and snacks. Also up here are the toilets including Baby Change, Parent and Toddler toilet and a Parents Room for anyone wanting some privacy to feed. The weather was terrible on the day we visited, but on a clear day, the view of the cathedral and the city would be stunning! I think we may be regular visitors to the top floor!
John Lewis Exeter opens on Friday 12th October 2012. Opening hours are 9amn-7pm (9pm on Thursday) and 10.30am -5pm on Sundays. If you are thinking of visiting on or near opening day, think about taking the Park and Ride. There are expected to be a lot of excited shoppers descending on Exeter!