John Lewis to spend £24 million on Edinburgh branch

Department store group John Lewis has announced details of a £24 million investment and refurbishment of its 160,000sq ft Edinburgh store.

The spend will fund improvements throughout the branch including a new, additional shopping floor, new tech product area and new café.

The investment is also financing a reconfiguration of the shop, to make it easier to shop while the St James Centre retail complex, which it anchors, is being redeveloped.

Work at the shop began last year, with the installation of a new entrance on Leith Street with new lifts, and a new customer collections area for click & collect services. Parking spaces were also created outside the shop. Earlier this year a new gift, stationery and candle shop opened at the main entrance on the ground floor.

At the end of this month most of the changes will be complete and John Lewis will open a completely new shopping floor on level five of the shop – which has never before been open to customers.

The retailer will introduce its new Smart Home concept here – which brings together connected gadgets and tech into one space, enabling customers to experience what it’s like to have a fully connected home.

A new ‘The Place to Eat’ café with a fresh, contemporary décor will also be located on this floor, offering a vista of the city.

John Lewis Edinburgh will be the first of the retailer’s shops in Scotland to offer a Smart Home area. Alongside the Smart Home concept, a new electrical department will be unveiled, which will include a photography station with one of the widest ranges of cameras and accessories in the country’s capital.

The beauty department is being given a makeover too, and will be moved to a new, more central location on the second floor.

In August the changes will conclude with the opening of a new furniture department on the fourth floor, alongside a new lighting department and picture gallery.

The new layout will remain until the shops prepares to be reconnected to the redeveloped St James Centre ahead of its scheduled opening in 2020.

Barry Blamire, head of branch at John Lewis Edinburgh, said: “This is one of the biggest refurbishments the shop has seen in its 43 years and is an incredibly exciting moment in our history.

“As the retail landscape changes, we adapt and evolve our shops to ensure we continue to meet our customers’ needs and expectations. This major investment will give customers more interactive shopping experiences while retaining the same excellent level of service from our Partners [staff].

“We’re working through the night to ensure there is minimum impact on our customers. We look forward to unveiling our new look shop and exciting new additions.”

John Lewis 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 www.johnlewis.com.

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