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John Lewis opens concept experiential store

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In response to the way the nation now shops, John Lewis Partnership has opened a concept store in Southampton with ‘experience playgrounds’ on every floor, offering a range of free and paid-for services and experiences, led by ‘a retail dream team of experts.’


Stationery and craft forms a key part of the brand’s plans for these ‘experiences’, which include modern calligraphy workshops, photography and wreath-making classes.


In what the brand describes as a ‘unique experiment’, a combination of services and experiences led by expert Partners will take centre stage on every floor. If these ‘experience playgrounds’ are successful, they could be rolled out across the country.


Customers could start their day at the rooftop farm shop, pause for a 15-minute fashion fix in the style studio, and learn to bake bread in the first ever Waitrose & Partners Cookery School to open in a John Lewis & Partners shop. They could compile a mood board for a home refurbishment project in The World of Design or attend a workshop on gardening. They will have the chance to experiment with make-up or gadgets in one of the ‘stay and play’ areas.


Peter Cross, customer experience director at John Lewis & Partners, said: “Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in as many areas of their lives as we possibly can – in a way that is uplifting and inspiring.


“Our new concept shop is an example of how we’re reinventing the department store of the future to make us stand out from the competition.”


Customers can book time with Partners in the new Southampton store by visiting the Experience Desk, where they can also purchase Gift Experience packages. The full list of payable events is available on the brand’s consumer website.

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