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Smaller John Lewis stores bet on fashion

John Lewis is banking on fashion to drive footfall in its new smaller department stores, which will form part of a “flexible” approach to expansion in the face of limited growth options for larger stores.

The first store, focusing on fashion, homeware and electricals, will open in Exeter in autumn 2012, and will cover 70,000 sq ft, compared with an average John Lewis store size of 132,000 sq ft. There are plans for more than 10 new-format stores in second-tier city centres.

John Lewis commercial director Andrea O’Donnell said it was becoming increasingly important to have a fashion offer amid the downturn: “Fashion brings frequency and footfall, and in the current economic environment it is more resilient [than homeware].”

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