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New food hall opens today

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Look around the new shop
and hear from manging director Simon Russell

It boasts more than a tonne of cheese, 5,000 apples - and a
£21.9m price tag.

Now, after months of preparation, the John Lewis
foodhall has opened today at Bluewater shopping centre in

After an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, hundreds of customers
flocked through the doors to same some of the 8,500 lines of

More than 170 jobs have been created after the basement of
the anchor store was converted into the foodhall - as part of an
overall £22m store facelift.

But while many items will be familiar to shoppers of Waitrose -
the firm's supermarket subsidiary - more than 400 lines are
exclusive to the foodhall.

And bosses are keen to promote locally-produced food, with
around a dozen Kent producers stocked.

Local suppliers include Simply Icecream, of Bonnington, and the
Cheesemakers of Canterbury.

Simon Russell, manager of John Lewis Bluewater
Simon Russell, manager of John Lewis Bluewater

Simon Russell, managing director of John Lewis Bluewater, said:
"Kent has some tremendous local produce and suppliers - we were
particularly impressed with Simply Icecream and the Cheesemakers of

"We're delighted to give shoppers the chance to celebrate the
delicious flavours from our local area."

For those with more exotic tastes, there will also be a balsamic
vinegar flecked with 24 carat gold on sale.

The foodhall is only the second in the UK, after a store in
Oxford Street opened two years ago.

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