John Lewis York, ready to welcome first shoppers: video and gallery

Ready to go… Robert Garnish, general manager, John Lewis York. Photographs: Richard McDougall
8 Apr 2014 @ 4.47 pm
| Shopping
Ready to go… Robert Garnish, branch manager, John Lewis York. Photographs: Richard McDougall
Ready to go… Robert Garnish, branch manager, John Lewis York. Photographs: Richard McDougall

These are the sights that will greet the first shoppers at John Lewis York, when the eagerly awaited new store opens its doors on Thursday (April 10).

Hundreds of staff from stores around the country have been working for 12 days to prepare and stock the store, on the Vangarde Shopping Park at Monks Cross.

“Welcome to John Lewis York in its finished state,” said branch manager Robert Garnish as he greeted members of the media on Tuesday morning.

Although a brand new store, with 95,000 square feet of retail space, it harks back to the company’s earliest days.

Branding celebrates the fact that it is 150 years since John Lewis Senior opened his first store on Oxford Street, London.

Vintage patterns, including Cummersdale dating from 1864, have been revived on homeware to add to the retro feel.

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The new store also has a number of firsts. It is the first to offer fitted bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms under one roof. It is the first John Lewis to open with an in-store Hotel Chocolat café – with outside eating area too.

Another café, The Place To Eat, is on the first floor, offering hot food, a deli and patisserie.

Robert Garnish said John Lewis York would bridge a gap between the Sheffield branch and the one at the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

He believed the out of town position would complement, rather than compete against, York’s city centre retailers.

“With the park and ride, people can park here, spend some time with us and the other retailers on site and then perhaps go into the city centre.”

There were plans to open a branch in Leeds within the next five years. “We are absolutely committed to growing our presence in Yorkshire,” he said.

Highest in-store price: a five and a half grand telly
Highest in-store price: a five and a half grand telly
Lowest in-store price: paper doilies for a quid
Lowest in-store price: paper doilies for a quid

The most expensive item in store is the 65-inch LED television, at £5,499. The cheapest? Twenty paper doilies for £1.

Visual branding includes various versions of Gerald the dog, plus a large cow covered in yarn known as Charlie.

“I was asked at one point whether I was running a zoo rather than a department store,” said Robert. “Children in particular will want to have their photo taken with Charlie.”

The store staff have a dress rehearsal in store on Wednesday, April 9, before it opens to the public at 9am on Thursday, April 10.

They expect 5,000 people through the store on the first day. There are 1,300 parking spaces.