John Lewis is opening an ambitious new store in Oxford tomorrow, the culmination of an £18m plan to "reinvent the department store".
The rise of online shopping has changed what people want from retail stores, and John Lewis' 120,000 sq ft outlet in Oxford's Westgate development will sell both products and experiences.
To bring in shoppers, John Lewis is offering no less than 21 services over the coming season, including personal styling, beauty treatments, a home design service and more.
And, John Lewis has appointed a "brand experience manager" to man its experience desk, which the department store has described as a 'concierge style' service to help customers organise their day. The store will have a range of events on each day, and the desk will also manage bookings for the rooftop Scandinavian restaurant.
Paula Nickolds, John Lewis' managing director, said the new store was "more than a route to selling things".
"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."
The store will open at 10am tomorrow, and it is John Lewis' 49th store in the UK. The retailer has recruited 322 staff and has given them all acting lessons at the Oxford Playhouse to teach them how best to communicate with customers.