I am very, very, VERY honoured to have been invited to have a look around the new John Lewis at home and Waitrose store which will be opening in Basingstoke on Thursday 12th November…
John Lewis at home & Waitrose Basingstoke – First Look!!!!!!!!!!!
With less than a month to go until opening, I was invited to look round the new shops and see how everything is coming together. The tour was given by Ali Gilbert, John Lewis at home Basingstoke Branch Manager and Jamie Rodgers, Waitrose Basingstoke Branch Manager.
This will be the third and biggest co-located shop in the John Lewis Partnership portfolio.
Work started over a year ago on the project and it’s amazing to see how much had been done. Throughout the 68-week construction process, the project has:
- Removed 57,320 tonne loads of chalk from the site
- Installed 3.4 miles of underground ductwork
- Used 4,500 tonnes of concrete
- Used 600 tonne of steel for the building’s frame
- Individually installed 4,780 feature tiles to create the building’s striking sail
- Laid 1,800 Tonnes of tarmac to form the road
It’s pretty impressive when you see the numbers above!
I had already been asked to provide my shoe size so I knew we would be wearing steel toe capped boots. When I arrived I was introduced to everyone and then we had a safety briefing and were given our boots, hi-vis jacket and a lovely red hard hat.
We were first taken to the atrium area. With less than a month to go the building is really taking shape inside but it’s still a construction site (hence the boots and hardhat!). However, you can already see that the atrium is going to be a beautiful, bright and welcoming area with lots of glass and natural light. The atrium will have a juice bar and a welcome desk and will also be the main point of access for pedestrians.
You will then be able to go into either the Waitrose shop or the John Lewis shop. The car park is on the roof of the building and there is both a travellator and numerous lifts to take you to where you want to go in the stores.
Ground Floor in Waitrose
We were first taken into the ground floor of the Waitrose side of the building. Jamie talked through how the store will work. There will be the usual areas that you would expect in a Waitrose but I was really pleased to hear that they are increasing their “free from” area to reflect changing dietary needs. There will also be a large “food to go” area for those people who don’t like cooking.
I was really intrigued to hear that on the ground floor in Waitrose there will also be a wine and beer bar which will also serve tapas and deli platters!!!
Jamie talked through how the My Waitrose card will be crucial to shoppers. Especially the new “pick you own offer” which allows you to have even more discounts on your favourite products.
You will also be able to use Apple Pay, there will be the usual self scanners, traditional tills, self service counters and click and collect.
Ground Floor in John Lewis at Home
We then walked over to the John Lewis side of the building. Ali explained that once you’ve walked through the atrium there will be a Liz Earle area, an area for candles, gift food and then stationary.
There will be an area to the back of the ground floor for John Lewis which will have the seasonal displays. As it won’t be long until Christmas when the store opens, I can’t wait to see what the displays will finally look like!
I was delighted to hear that the new John Lewis at Home store will have the biggest nursery area in any “at home” store and will also have a “nursery advice” area which will be a personal shopper for people shopping in nursery “at home”.
The store will stock 16,000 products lines which is only a small element of the 350,000 lines that John Lewis actually stock overall but there will be kiosks available where you can order everything online to be delivered in to the shop. If you order by 8pm the evening before, the item will be in the store before 2pm the next day!!!
Floor 1 in Waitrose
We then went upstairs to see the Waitrose area. Waitrose Basingstoke will include a customer café with a made-to-order menu, offering a hot and cold breakfast, lunchtime salads, sandwiches, plus tea-time treats such as pastries, cakes and desserts, all of which will be made from the same ingredients that can be bought in the store. The cafe will provide 166 covers which I think means seats (Nick, the architect emailed me to say that this means there will be about 40 tables! lol). There will be two areas to the cafe, one which is an “eating” area and one which is a “thinking” area. There will be a full meal services available, with dishes of the day and the menu will change seasonally.
Behind the cafe is the partner (employee) area. Both Jamie and Ali were very keen to show how they really value their teams and how these shared partner areas will be key to the success of the shops. The new shops had over 1200 (!!!) applicants for positions and will provide 369 retail jobs. I was really pleased to hear how they have targeted local people, from places like the Shaw Trust and BCOT for these jobs.
Floor 1 in John Lewis at Home
We then walked through to the John Lewis side of the building. We saw the “vision” area and Liz talked through how the upstairs floor will be more about the John Lewis “lifestyle”. There will also be an area for Tech Support/Tech Services and they even have a separate “quiet” area for testing out mattresses!!
We then went up to the top floor to see the parking area. There will be 420 parking spaces and I checked and there will be at least 15 parent and child parking spaces. The car park will be pay and display and the charge will be refunded in store against your purchases.
I was very pleased about John Lewis and Waitrose coming to Basingstoke but now I’ve actually seen the site I’m SOOOOO EXCITED about it!!! I hadn’t appreciated how ahead of the market this co-located shop is going to be! It’s really going to put Basingstoke even more on the map!
Waitrose will be open from 7.30am to 9pm Mon to Saturday, John Lewis will be open from 9am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and both will be open on Sunday from 10.30am for browsing, then purchases from 11am to 5pm.
Both stores will open for the first time on Thursday 12th November at 9am…I can’t WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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