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Party mood for John Lewis and Debenhams birthdays

Two of the UK’s largest department store groups are plotting a range of activities to celebrate major anniversaries. For next year’s 150th anniversary John Lewis is teaming up with London’s Design Museum to run events and activities in August and September that focus on the retailer’s design heritage and history.

For next year’s 150th anniversary John Lewis is teaming up with London’s Design Museum to run events and activities in August and September that focus on the retailer’s design heritage and history.

Further celebrations are planned throughout the year but details have yet to be released.

Debenhams, whose 200th anniversary falls on Christmas Day this year, is also planning a series of events to mark its milestone, including a collection created by some of its Designers at Debenhams line-up.

The Limited Edition Collection, due to launch this month, will feature pieces including a gold sequin dress by Julien Macdonald and a Betty Jackson coat. Prices will range from £12.50 to £299 and the pieces will be available online and in key stores.

The retailer also plans to celebrate with business partners, agencies and suppliers by hosting a ball in aid of its charitable trust, the Debenhams Foundation.

Ahead of the anniversary, Debenhams has doubled its marketing spend for autumn 13, led by a new ad campaign. Debenhams marketing director

Richard Cristofoli told Drapers: “You don’t want to become totally introspective – whatever we do

[to celebrate] needs to be totally customer relevant.”

Debenhams is also working on a £25m redevelopment of its flagship store on Oxford Street, which is due to be unveiled later this year. This will include a new floor, taking the number of trading floors to seven, three of which will be dedicated to fashion.

Debenhams started life in 1813 when William Debenham became a partner in a draper’s store on

Wigmore Street, London and renamed it Clark & Debenham.

The company now has 240 stores across 28 countries, and in the year to August 31 like-for-like sales rose 2%.

Meanwhile, John Lewis’s eponymous founder opened his first drapery shop in 1864 at 132 Oxford

Street, London. The business now has 39 stores, and in the six months to July 27 sales grew 6.6% to £1.7bn.

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