John Lewis to open £7m store in Ashford

John Lewis and how it could look when a new store opens up in Ashford.
John Lewis and how it could look when a new store opens up in Ashford.

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

John Lewis has pledged to create 160 jobs in Ashford after announcing plans to open its second Kent "at home" store.

The partner-owned business, which operates a departmental store at Bluewater, opened its first John Lewis At Home store in Tunbridge Wells late last year.

The format has been so successful that it now wants to add an Ashford store to its portfolio. The shop is due to be located on a new site, just off junction 9 of the M20, and open in the autumn of 2012.

While John Lewis took over an existing building in Tunbridge Wells, the Ashford store will be completely new and cover two floors. The business is investing £7 million in the 40,000 sq ft building, which will also offer a cafe and 200 parking spaces.

The store, which depends on planning permission, will sell furniture, furnishing accessories, electrical and home technology. Customers will be able to order online and collect items at the store.

Andy Street, John Lewis managing director who previously ran the Bluewater store, said: "We believe the opening of a John Lewis at home in Ashford will offer customers in the town and the surrounding areas a broader, more convenient shopping offer. Ashford is an ambitious town with a positive attitude to high quality development and we look forward to becoming part of the Ashford story."

John Lewis is working with the developer Davies Street Castle City and architects, Chetwood associates.

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