ONE of the newest John Lewis stores is joining in with the chain’s celebrations of 150 years in business.
John Lewis At Home, at Poole Retail Park in Branksome, celebrates its own fifth anniversary this year.
It is hosting special events and stocking a range of commemorative items.
The Branksome store was ground-breaking in itself, the first of 10 John Lewis At Home stores added to complement the 31 department stores and the brand’s online business.
The original John Lewis opened his first store in Oxford Street in 1864.
Jeremy Adams, store manager at the Branksome shop, said: “It was basically a draper’s shop. That was where it all started.
“They took the plaster off the walls of the shop to get more stock in.”
John Lewis bought control of the Peter Jones store in 1905 and handed it to his son, John Spedan Lewis, in 1914. It was John Spedan Lewis who set up staff committees and turned the business into an employee-owned partnership.
“John Spedan Lewis was the founder of what the John Lewis Partnership is now,” said Mr Adams.
“Everybody who works in the business is a partner. We all share the benefits of that every year with the bonus announcement.
“It’s the largest employee-owned business in the country.”
There will be a host of events going on throughout the year to support the Barnardo’s charity and other local good causes.
A number of the chain’s key suppliers have created retro-style products for the anniversary, including Dualit Origins toasters, Hans Wegner chairs, Le Creuset kitchenware, Emma Bridgewater pottery, Ercol furniture and Poole Pottery. Numatic, manufacturer of the Henry and Hettie vacuum cleaners, has produced a pair called John and Lewis.
John Lewis At Home stocks around 20,000 product lines, compared with 120,000-140,000 in a full department store.
But customers can order from a range of 200,000 products and have them delivered to the store.
Mr Adams said the retailer had become a “multi-channel” business, successfully encouraging many online buyers to come into the store and spend.
“There will always be bricks and mortar shops because customers like that tactile bit,” he said.
“The two complement each other and that’s why John Lewis as a business has been pretty successful through the recession and through the austerity years.
“The retailers that are not doing so well are the ones that haven’t got that multi-channel presence.”