John Lewis announces plans to open ‘at home’ shop in Ashford

John Lewis has announced plans to open a John Lewis at home in Ashford as early as autumn 2012. The shop is due to be located on a new site, just off junction 9 of the M20.

John Lewis will invest £7 million in the development and proposals for the new shop will boost local employment with the creation of around 160 new jobs. John Lewis at home will be a new build, extending over two floors with the ground and first floor selling areas totalling 40,000 sq ft. The plans include a customer café and around 200 car parking spaces.

The John Lewis at home format focuses on furniture, furnishing accessories, electrical and home technology. To allow customers to access and order a wider John Lewis assortment from, customer online ordering points will be located throughout the shop and customers will also be able to use the free John Lewis Click and Collect service.

Andy Street, Managing Director, John Lewis, said: ‘We believe the opening of a John Lewis at home in Ashford will offer customers in the town and the surrounding areas a broader, more convenient shopping offer. Ashford is an ambitious town with a positive attitude to high quality development and we look forward to becoming part of the Ashford story.

‘Our plans to open in Ashford will also help realise our ambition to have more than ten ‘at home’ shops by the end of 2012 and we look forward to providing shoppers with greater convenience and ease of access to our inspiring products, great value and exceptional service.’

The John Lewis at home concept successfully launched in Poole in October 2009 and shops in Croydon, Swindon and Tunbridge Wells followed suit in 2010. The retailer has already announced plans to open ‘at home’ shops in Chester and Tamworth this autumn and in Newbury by spring 2012.

Tim Harrison, Head of Format Development, commented: ‘At John Lewis we are committed to the communities in which we operate and through the recruitment of 160 Partners local to Ashford, our aim will be to fully integrate and be part of the local community. Ashford is an ideal fit for us in terms of both location and catchment and we hope our unique offering will be a welcome addition to Ashford and surrounding areas.’

Cllr Peter Wood, Leader of Ashford Borough Council said: ‘The plans are at an early stage but this is potentially exciting news for the people of Ashford and the whole of East Kent.

‘John Lewis is a household name with a strong reputation for high quality products and services, exactly the type of company that we wish to attract to Ashford.

‘The arrival of a John Lewis at home would complement the town’s existing retail offer while significantly enhancing the choices for shoppers, and should the plans be approved, provides further evidence of Ashford’s growing reputation as the place to invest.’

Proposals to open an ‘at home’ in Ashford will take the number of John Lewis shops in Kent to three. The retailer has been an anchor tenant in the Bluewater shopping centre since 1999 and John Lewis at home Tunbridge Wells opened last year.

A public consultation on the plans to open a John Lewis at home in Ashford will be held on Friday 1 July, between 10.30am to 4pm and Saturday 2 July between, 9.30am to 3pm, in the lobby of Waitrose, Repton Park. Detailed plans for the development will be displayed and John Lewis representatives will be on hand to answer questions.

John Lewis is working with the developer Davies Street Castle City Limited and award winning architects, Chetwood associates. The retailer is being represented by Cushman & Wakefield and Ashworths Chartered Surveyors.

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