John Lewis is planning a £32m refurbishment on four of its major stores this year, including the Oxford Street flagship.
The central London store is receiving £8m alone, with work taking place between May and October. The plans include a “full upgrade” of the lower ground floor, creating a home dining, entertaining and gifting emporium.
Stores in High Wycombe, Kingston and Nottingham are also set to undergo the facelift, which managing director Andy Street said would turn the shops into “vibrant beacons of what successful bricks and mortar retailing can bring to our towns and cities”.
High Wycombe is receiving the biggest single investment, totalling £16m. The money will go towards converting 35,000 sq ft of back office space to increase the shop’s selling area by a third, and extend the product offer by introducing a full fashion, nursery and childrenswear offer, as well as expanding the beauty and audio visual departments.
The first phase of the makeover has started on the shop’s back-office space, with work on the selling floors beginning in early April and all work due for completion in October 2013.
Kingston’s refurbishment will cost £7m, with more than 7,000 sq ft being added to the selling space, while Nottingham will receive £1m to make over the first and third floors.
All four shops will all remain open throughout the works and activity will be carefully managed to minimise any impact on customers
A further £25m has been earmarked for other, smaller investments across the retailer’s 39 shop estate before 2014.
Street said the improvements were necessary to ensure John Lewis was “complementing a rapidly growing online business rather than being replaced by it”.
He added: “Investing in our shops is crucial to ensure we continue to provide powerful and compelling destinations for our customers to visit. These upgrades reinforce our commitment to the high street, where we believe it is essential to constantly innovate and evolve.