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John Lewis rolls out 'concierge style' shopping experience

UK department store group John Lewis is to offer customers a new 'concierge style' shopping experience at its Oxford store as part of its plans reinvent the department store.

The service-led store, which opened yesterday (24 October) in the new Westgate shopping centre, will operate a trial of the group's latest shopping experience and dedicates one-fifth of its floorspace to 21 services and experiences, including free personal styling, bra fitting, and children's shoe fitting.

John Lewis has invested about GBP18m (US$23.6m) in building the 120,000 sq ft shop, which is the anchor tenant at the new Westgate development which also opened yesterday. The new store will stock over 55,000 products and more than one thousand different brands.

At the heart of the three-floor shop will be an Experience Desk managed by John Lewis's first ever brand experience manager where customers will be offered a 'concierge style' service to help them plan their day. Service partners will be able to tell them everything the store offers and help choose the best partner for their styling appointment.

For the first time, John Lewis will also be trialling new 'hotel style' tours to show customers around the new shop.

The 322 partners recruited to work at the store have been given bespoke 'theatre training' by The Oxford Playhouse to teach them the art of outstanding service, and have been taught voice and body language skills used by actors to help them confidently deliver great customer service in an "authentic" way.

"As part of our plans to differentiate the John Lewis brand and to reinvent the department store for the 21st century, our shops continue to be a place where customers come and experience our brand - the physical manifestation of what we stand for," explains John Lewis managing director Paula Nickolds.

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