The Exeter location is expected to open next year, recruiting 300 staff

The Exeter location is expected to open next year, recruiting 300 staff

Department store chain John Lewis is planning to open department stores across the UK this year, to support its accelerated growth strategy.

The first shop to use the flexible format strategy, located in Exeter city centre, is set to open next year and will include fashion, home and consumer electronics products.

This flexible department store concept will have shops averaging 65,000 to 100,000 sq ft.

Designed to maximise the opportunity for multi channel shopping, the concept will also ensure customers have access to a comprehensive John Lewis assortment in the branch, the company said.

"There is a huge potential, and a clear demand from customers, for John Lewis to expand into more key locations in the UK," said John Lewis managing director, Andy Street.

"This new flexible approach to the size of our shops allows us to forge ahead with our growth plans to introduce John Lewis branches and our full-line assortment to cities and towns where we have long wanted to have a presence.

"Starting early next year with the recruitment of 300 partners (staff) for the new Exeter branch, similar numbers will be recruited at each of the ten identified locations going forward, resulting in around 3,000 jobs for new partners being created through the development of our new, flexible format," he added.

John Lewis is expecting to open three shops this year, including John Lewis Stratford City in September and John Lewis 'at home' shops in Chester and Tamworth.

Head of format development for John Lewis, Tim Harrison said: "The concept of a flexible department store format allows us to target developments that may not have been seen previously as viable. Crucially our new approach will mean that the full John Lewis product assortment will be available to customers in many more towns and cities across the UK."