Station-(in)-g John Lewis

Having noted the importance of retail to Network Rail's regeneration of it's stations and the search by John Lewis for a site in Birmingham for a new department store in my previous post, New Street Station bus- i/y -ness, today saw the annnouncement by the John Lewis Group of a new 250,000 sq ft store adjacent to New Street Station,,

The city council signed a heads of terms agreement with John Lewis for the £100m full-line John Lewis department store which will be located to the south of New Street Station near to Hill Street and which should create 650 jobs. The new store is expected to open, subject to planning approval, in 2014. At 250,000 sq ft it will be one of the largest John Lewis' outside of London. The £3m store will cover four floors and was achieved following two years of negotiations between Birmingham City Council, Network Rail and John Lewis,

John Lewis has long held ambitions to target Birmingham and it will add to the much improved retail offering that makes Birmingham a key retail destination and will add to other department stores House of Fraser and Selfridges and new international brands such as Forever 21. Indeed the John Lewis MD has noted this in his assertion that John Lewis will be the "retail glue" bringing together the city's key shopping outlets, The glue it seems might already be attracting other retailers as council leader Mike Whitby has begun talks with 'several big names' to join John Lewis.

“This store will be the anchor of a major development – it is the first John Lewis store to open in six years,” he said. “I believe a lot of organisations in London will be asking why John Lewis has chosen to open up such a huge scheme in Birmingham. It will generate huge interest in the city and no doubt prompt other retailers to look to Birmingham and think about investing in the city.”

Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis, commented: “Together with a progressive city council and Network Rail, we are pleased to play our part in the regeneration of Birmingham city centre.

“We will deliver a landmark, long-term investment and quality job creation. Our optimum growth strategy includes opening full-line department stores in strategic locations, ‘at home’ shops and online expansion including our international delivery.

“This project fulfils John Lewis’s longstanding ambition to bring our unique retail and employment offer to Birmingham. Our presence in Birmingham will also enhance competition, choice and quality for the benefit of regional shoppers.”


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