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John Lewis Flagship Store, Grand Central Birmingham

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Being a bit of a John Lewis ‘Superfan’, earlier this month I paid a little visit to the newly opened flagship store at Grand Central in Birmingham.

Having closely followed the development of Grand Central I couldn’t wait to see what John Lewis had come up with! When they opened the York store I was straight down for a bit of retail therapy, so I was really interested to see how they had developed their store concept on from a couple of years ago.

So with the excitement of a child at Christmas, I hot footed it over to Birmingham!

The overall feel of the store is very much the same to their other stores in relation to quality, feel and atmosphere. It retains the signature John Lewis look but there is a little something extra – there is more of an ‘experience’. The VM is more theatrical and there is a really nice mix of retail and leisure, for example with Joe & The Juice bar being located on the first floor in the middle of the women’s clothing department (as well as outside the main entrance), offering a nice little rest break mid-shop to consider and mull over your options prior to purchase!

I think the store will work well with and support their online offer, primarily because of it’s location. Being positioned next door to The Bull Ring (which facilitates more traditional high street shopping), it is also just above Birmingham New Street. This creates massive opportunity for browsing and brand engagement but not necessarily direct store purchasing, due to customers being in transit, however, once on the train or when they get home, I can imagine that the experience in store could have a large impact on later purchases online, potentially.

The fixtures and fittings retain the same elegance but have received some subtle tweaking, such as the leg details of the mid floor units. The addition of the framework within the beauty department on the ground floor adds form and structure to the environment, whilst aiding navigation by forming mini fascias.

Additional newcomers to the design that I took particular interest in included projection mapping integrated within some wall displays and a revamped approach to the home department with more room sets introduced to show off their fabulous product range.

Overall, I absolutely loved the store and experience and I certainly remain a ‘Superfan’! I for one can not wait for the Leeds store to open next year! I drive past the building site at Victoria Gate everyday on my way in to the studio and have been watching it slowly develop over the last year or so and from what I have seen at Birmingham I am really excited to see what they have in store for Leeds!

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