Department Stores

John Lewis and Waitrose to launch first ever concept store

John Lewis and Waitrose have announced the launch of a new ‘concept’ store, set to open in Southampton later this week. 

The John Lewis Partnership said the store hopes to create “experience playgrounds” for customers, with greater focus on increasing hands-on experiences whilst shopping.

The store will incorporate multiple new features, including “stay and play” areas where in-store products can be trialled, as well as the company’s first ever Waitrose Cookery School cooking classes. 

Beauty and fashion gift experiences will also feature, including personal styling packages and manicure and brow treatments. The store will also hold specialist gardening talks and home consultations, as well as pop-up workshops ranging from barista and photography courses to wreath-making and calligraphy. 

John Lewis Partnership said: “Customers could start their day at our rooftop farm shop, pause for a 15-minute fashion fix in our style studio and learn to bake bread in the first ever Waitrose and Partners Cookery School to open in a John Lewis and Partners shop. 

“They could compile a moodboard for a home refurbishment in The World of Design, attend a workshop on gardening and experiment with make-up or gadgets in one of our ‘stay and play’ areas.”

The store will feature a team of in-store specialists who will advise customers on purchases. This “retail dream team” will include interior designers, chefs and wine connoisseurs, gardeners, gadget specialists, personal stylists and make-up artists.

John Lewis Partnership said it hopes the concept will “explore the future role of the shop in our customers’ lives”. If the store is deemed a success, the concept may be rolled out across further UK stores. 

Peter Cross, customer experience director at John Lewis and Partners, said: “Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in as many areas of their lives as we possibly can – in a way that is uplifting and inspiring. 

“We know that shopping for a new gadget or beauty product can be a daunting experience, with so much choice on offer. We want to help navigate customers through that.”

He added: “Our new concept shop is an example of how we’re reinventing the department store of the future to make us stand out from the competition.”

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