John Lewis new format called “At Home”

John Lewis has decided on the brand name “John Lewis at Home” for its new format store that will sell home, electrical and technology products.

The first shop is due to open in Poole this October. It will be a third of the size of a typical John Lewis department store and aim to fill a “gap in the market for a mid-premium end home and electrical retailer”. The new name was chosen to “reflect the retailer’s core strength”.

The £6m initiative is designed to expand the John Lewis footprint during the recession – the larger full format rollout having been delayed until the economy improves.

If successful, the smaller format could be opened in over 30 viable locations in the UK next year. Indeed, research has shown there are growth opportunities for John Lewis in this format, giving customers more convenient access to its products.

Analysts agree, suggesting the initiative has merit, unlike the Marks & Spencer ‘Lifestore’ experiment in Gateshead four years ago. The new format is also a pre-emptive strike against the arrival of US electricals chain, Best Buy.

John Lewis currently has 27 department stores and posted sales totalling £2.8bn in 2008-09.

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