The department store group is the anchor tenant of the new 800,000sq ft Westgate Oxford retail-led mixed use development, which opens in the Oxfordshire city on Tuesday (October 24).
The retailer has invested £18 million in the 120,000sq ft shop, which comprises three floors of fashion, beauty, homeware, giftware, technology and electrical items.
John Lewis managing director Paula Nickolds said: “As part of our plans to differentiate the John Lewis brand and reinvent the department store for the 21st century, our shops continue to be a place where customers come and experience our brand – the physical manifestation of what we stand for.
“More than a route to selling things, our Oxford shop is a place that aims to inspire and delight our customers and is entirely focused on customer experience.”
One-fifth of the floorspace is dedicated to services and experiences. A total of 21 different services will be offered, from travel advice to eye tests and children’s car seat fitting advice.
Home-related services will include Christmas sacks and bauble personalisation, gift list, home design, home appliance installation and disposal, made to measure curtains and blinds including fitting, and Smarthome product advice.
Brand new services from the retailer will include a free personal styling service for men, free technology training workshops and John Lewis’ first express Nail and Brow bar.
An Experience Desk located at the heart of shop will offer a ‘concierge style’ service to customers to help them plan their day. Staff will be able to book shoppers into exclusive events happening that day such as a pop-up barber or make-up masterclass, make styling or home design appointments, or book tables at the Scandinavian rooftop restaurant KuPP.
Customers will also be able to buy one of five newly created gift experience packages including a beauty experience or the creation of a bespoke one.
For the first time, John Lewis will also be trialling new ‘hotel style’ tours to show customers around the new shop.
The store’s 322 staff have been given bespoke theatre training by The Oxford Playhouse to teach them ‘the art of outstanding service’. They have been taught voice and body language skills used by actors ‘to help them confidently deliver great customer service in their own authentic way’.
Staff will also be trialling a new uniform selected from John Lewis’s own-brand range Kin, which will be updated each season to showcase the retailer’s own-brand fashion.
John Lewis Oxford will be the retailer’s 49th store. It currently operates 48 John Lewis shops across the UK: 34 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2, as well as johnlewis.com.