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John Lewis to open new Birmingham department store

It is the first major department store announced anywhere in the UK since the recession and will open in 2014.

With four floors and 155,000 sq ft of selling space and 650 staff it will be the largest John Lewis store outside London. And Birmingham City Council said a total of 900 jobs would be created in Birmingham when supply chain and construction jobs were taken into account.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street, who grew up in Northfield and Solihull and was a pupil at King Edward School in Edgbaston, said the plan was a huge vote of confidence in Birmingham. He said: “I’m a native of this city, it’s still got a place in my heart. We have coveted a place in Birmingham for a long time.

“This is the right location, until now the shopping area in Birmingham city centre has been spread out. The New Street development will concentrate the retail area. “With New Street at the centre of the West Midlands transport network, it is the perfect place to be.

“This will be a flagship for the West Midlands and compliment our Solihull store and is the first department store of any scale to be announced by any retailer since the credit crunch.”

The Birmingham Mail broke the news of the deal last November. Council leader Coun Mike Whitby said: “This is the culmination of 24 months of negotiations.

“It is a sign of confidence in Birmingham and the New Street Gateway project,” he said. “These are difficult times, but this shows the city of Birmingham has the reputation and the confidence to attract major investment,” Coun Whitby said.

“These 900 jobs are just the first announcement of several we will be making in the near future.”

Source : Neil Elkes - Birmingham Mail.net

22 February 2011
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