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John Lewis unveils new womenswear concept

John Lewis has unveiled the details of its new premium womenswear concept set to debut in its Cardiff store next week.

The department store retailer, which was set to announce its preliminary results as Drapers went to press, has allocated 20% additional space to womenswear at the Cardiff store, which opens on Thursday, compared with other average stores.

The department features seven areas for clothing, jewellery and lingerie, each with a distinct look and feel. It will be the second largest womenswear department in the John Lewis business, after its Oxford Street store in London.

John Lewis, which has introduced a further 70 brands in 2009 across its fashion offer, said it would roll out the concept to 18 shops by autumn 2010, with its shop at Bluewater in Kent three quarters of the way through refurbishment at present.

John Lewis has been driving its fashion credentials through the recruitment of upmarket brands and the launch of high-profile fashion campaigns. This week, it relaunched its fashion website.

“It is about creating an inspirational shopfit,” said John Lewis buying director for fashion Peter Ruis. “We have had a nice, easy-to-shop but relatively drab shopfit that has not fitted the brands.”

The concept consists of a denim area with wood features, while the designer area is fitted out in a retro gold colour. The contemporary area uses sculptural frame displays and the classic area makes a feature out of glass. The department also comprises a lingerie area, a footwear and handbag section with feature walls, and a jewellery area with black painted walls and statement chandeliers.

Ruis said that the brands had maintained their identity but that the area had a “more eclectic feel”.

The relaunched fashion website features 200 brands and is set to generate sales of £70m by 2011. Brands featured include Lulu Guinness, Steve Madden, Belstaff, Mulberry, Orla Kiely and Paul & Joe Sister. Ruis said that it would add 100 more brands to the site over the next 12 months.

Fashion currently represents 6% of Johnlewis.com’s total sales.

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