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John Lewis opens sixth UK ‘at home’ store

The UK homewares and electricals retail sector continues to face major challenges following the considerable slowdown in consumer spending this year, but department store group John Lewis today opened its sixth store dedicated to these products.

West Midlands town Tamworth is the latest location for the company’s ‘at home’ format, which sells furniture, homewares, furnishing accessories and electricals & home technology as its main ranges.

Some 200 jobs have been created by the new 42,000 sq ft store opening, which was unveiled at 09.00 BST at Ventura Retail Park this morning and is expecting to capitalise on the anticipated pre-Christmas spending rush.

John Lewis joins businesses such as flooring specialist Carpetright, fashion and homeware retailer Next and arts & crafts trader Hobbycraft at the out-of-town retail site.

Isabel Macdonald, Branch Manager of John Lewis at home Tamworth, said: “We are thrilled to be opening a new shop in Tamworth today.

“It’s incredible to see how much we have achieved in the seven months leading up to opening. From the construction of the building and training our new Partners to last week’s stock delivery, every element has worked brilliantly and enabled us to be ready to welcome customers here today.”

The first John Lewis at home store opened in Poole at the end of 2009, and others have been unveiled in Croydon, Tunbridge Wells, Swindon and Chester in the two years since.

Sales at the Poole outlet are down 1.8 per cent so far this year compared to the first ten months of 2010, with trading slumping 15.2 per cent year-on-year in the seven days to October 1st alone.

Homeware sales across the retail industry have suffered in 2011 as consumers’ ability to spend has been hampered by rising utility costs, inflation and other economic pressures, with companies such as Lombok and Habitat among the list of businesses to have collapsed this year.

Source : Ben Sillitoe - Retail Gazette

12 October 2011
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