John Lewis to expand personal shopping after Oxford success

John Lewis is putting personal shoppers for men into at least 10 more stores after the service proved a success at its Oxford premises.

The group’s first men’s stylist accounted for a third of all personal shopping appointments since the Oxford store opened in October.

A men’s stylist will be among 23 services on offer at the group’s £33m new store in west London, which is scheduled to open in March, its first department store opening since an outlet in Leeds two years ago.

The store is still a building site but already decked out with many of its fittings, including a beauty parlour, a community events room and a demonstration kitchen.

Maggie Porteous, director of shop trade at John Lewis, said it was “reinventing the department store for the 21st century … We want this shop to create a day out.”

The store, part of the extension of the Westfield shopping centre in west London, will open as high street retailers, particularly department stores, come under pressure from an increase in online shopping. House of Fraser and Debenhams are considering closing space and John Lewis’s has warned about its profits.

Porteous said the store would benefit from being part of the revamped Westfield, which would include a bowling venue.

Many of the services tested at the Oxford store will be expanded at White City, including a nail and eyebrow bar and spaces for events such as catwalk shows.

“White City and John Lewis are a destination that customers are really looking for which is a real experience. I think this will be very successful,” she said.

Events and services will be marketed through an upgraded version of the “experience desk” trialled in Oxford, where a concierge helps customers book appointments.

John Lewis is recruiting 600 people to work at the 230,000 sq ft store. They will undergo weeks of training including a new version of the acting lessons first tried in Oxford.