John Lewis today confirmed that work will begin next week to build the new £7 million John Lewis at home in Ashford.
The shop, located on a site close to junction 9 of the M20, is expected to open its doors before the end of 2013 and will boost local employment with the creation of around 125 new jobs.
The new build will extend over two floors with the ground and first floor selling areas totalling 39 000 sq ft. The plans include a customer café and around 200 car parking spaces.
The John Lewis at home format focuses on furniture, furnishing accessories, electrical and home technology. To allow customers to access and order a wider John Lewis assortment from johnlewis.com, customer online ordering points will be located throughout the shop and customers will also be able to use the free John Lewis Click and Collect service.
Andy Street, Managing Director, John Lewis, said: “We are delighted that work is getting underway to open our doors in Ashford this year. It’s an ideal fit for us in terms of both location and catchment and we look forward to becoming part of the local community, providing shoppers with access to our inspiring products, great value and exceptional service.”
The John Lewis at home concept successfully launched in Poole in October 2009 and shops in Croydon, Chichester, Newbury, Tamworth, Chester, Swindon, Tunbridge Wells and Ipswich followed suit. Ashford will be the tenth at home shop for John Lewis.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Acting Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “We are pleased to welcome John Lewis to Ashford and look forward to their new at home store opening later this year.
“John Lewis is a household name with a strong reputation for quality and will be a real feather in the cap for Ashford. They are exactly the type of company we want to attract and this is another sign of growing confidence in the town as a place to invest.
“The arrival of a new at home store will complement the town’s existing retail offer and provide more shopping choices for our residents.”
Barry Henderson, Director of Davies Street Castle City Estates Ltd said: “John Lewis has been working in conjunction with us since we acquired the site and secured planning consent. We are extremely excited to start the process of bringing this scheme to life, and believe it is a significant development for John Lewis and for Ashford.”
The at home shop in Ashford will take the number of John Lewis shops in Kent to three. The retailer has been an anchor tenant in the Bluewater shopping centre since 1999 and John Lewis at home Tunbridge Wells opened in 2010.