London & South East

Multi-million pound store revamp is a ‘first for national chain

Just being completed at Southampton’s landmark John Lewis branch in West Quay Shopping Centre is a multi-million pound revamp in a scheme making the store the first in the country to try out a new concept the company is currently working on.

The £5 million project has involved the redevelopment of the store’s first floor audio, television, menswear and furniture departments.

Main Contractors are Simons Group; Project Managers are Proper Services.

The project has included refurbishment of the existing floor to increase sales space using former back of house space. The early conversion of these areas, that were previously stockrooms or office space, helped the works programme to progress, as the contractors were able to release these spaces early, so they could increase the area of the sales floor available and allow the jigsaw of consequential works to happen.

The scheme has introduced three new concepts for Consumer & Electronics, Menswear, and Home and Vision.

The works have included the installation of all new shop fittings, new ceramic flooring, floor tiles, mechanical works, new lighting, and the upgrade of ceilings, including the addition of coloured ceiling tiles. Glass walls were also used to divide internal areas.

The contract presented the construction team with significant challenges in that the works have been carried out whilst the floor kept trading. Works continued 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Every department has successfully traded through the works, although some have been on a temporary or reduced site.

Managing director Andy Street said that the Southampton store is unique in that people will drive there from a very wide catchment because there is not another John Lewis of this quality between Bristol and Reading.

“We see this as a really key city that we are looking to trade in for the next 30, 40, 50 years. It is the regional centre and we will continue to invest in it so people want to make that journey” he added.

He went on to say since the store relocated to West Quay from the former Tyrrell & Green site in Above Bar ten years ago, the success had been beyond expectations, and he attributed this to the firm’s pre-existing presence, an affluent population and good access links.

He added that since his firm relocated, other big names have come to the area – notably Ikea – which helps pull shoppers in to the city.

The company has pledged to commit £250 million into building new stores, refurbishing existing outlets and developing its internet business.

Regional managing director Mark Venables said: “John Lewis is showing great confidence in our shop here in Southampton by investing significantly.

Works started in mid July on a 12 week programme, finishing on 14th October.

The project is one of two competitive tenders won by Simons for John Lewis store refurbishments, with the other contract being in Welwyn. John Lewis also awarded Simons Group a further project at their distribution centre in Milton Keynes as a result of the good work that the company’s teams have done on this site in the past. (Simons also built this facility in 2007.)

The refurbishments are the first retail projects which Simons has carried for John Lewis.


Simons is a privately-owned property solutions business employing over 200 site and office workers, providing quality, integrated solutions to brands and household names in the private and public sector including Tesco, Vodafone, M&S, House of Fraser and NHS Trusts.

Simons have an established in-house capability to fund schemes and unlock space alongside the full range of design and construction services, from complex new-build to all sizes of fit out, maintenance and aftercare.

The John Lewis Partnership is a visionary and successful way of doing business, boldly putting the happiness of Partners at the centre of everything it does.

It’s the embodiment of an ideal, the outcome of nearly a century of endeavour to create a different sort of company, owned by Partners dedicated to serving customers with flair and fairness.

All 76,500 permanent staff are Partners who own 34 John Lewis shops across the UK (29 department stores and five John Lewis at home), 266 Waitrose supermarkets, an online and catalogue business,, a production unit and a farm.

The business has annual gross sales of over £8.2bn. Partners share in the benefits and profits of a business that puts them first.

When founder, John Spedan Lewis, set up the Partnership, he was careful to create a governance system, set out in a Constitution that would be both commercial allowing the company to move quickly to stay ahead in a competitive industry, and democratic giving every Partner a voice in the business they co-own.

The business was founded in 1864 when John Lewis set up a draper’s shop in Oxford Street, London, which developed into a department store. In 1905 he bought the Peter Jones store in Sloane Square. In 1920 his son, John Spedan Lewis, expanded earlier power-sharing policies by sharing the profits the business made among the employees. The democratic nature and profit-sharing basis of the business were developed into a formal partnership structure and Spedan Lewis bequeathed the company to his employees. As of 2011, there are 76,500 partners – the majority full-time – working for the John Lewis Partnership.

John Spedan Lewis’s combination of commercial acumen and corporate conscience, so ahead of its time, is what makes the company what it is today.

The John Lewis Partnership won ‘Retailer of the Year’ at the Oracle Retail Week Awards 2011. The judges highlighted initiatives including John Lewis’s multi-channel operation and its’ at home’ format, as well as Waitrose’s convenience shops and new partnerships with retailers such as Boots.

 Guardian ECL Ltd

Over the years Guardian ECL have gained an irrefutably positive reputation in the market place for delivering their projects on time and with continuous high standards of workmanship.

At the same time, Guardian ECL pride themselves on helping their Clients to achieve cost savings on value engineering and reductions in energy products. With an array of Blue-chip Clients to it’s portfolio not only in the retail sector but also within Banking and Commercial and Local Authority sectors; Guardian ECL provides its energy solutions with a completive service from concept through to installation across the whole of the UK.

The refurbishment project of the prestigious John Lewis Department Store in Southampton was destined to be a challenge. Not that these challenges are anything new for Guardian ECL as all projects within the Retail Environment involve teams working around the clock 24/7 to achieve completion on time and within budget and without too much disruption to the all important shopper.

Under the management of our Senior Project Manager, Gerry Scanlon and our on site Manager, John Mallord; the project required the installation of power and lighting; data cabling; fire alarms; extensive CCTV and mechanical installations. The project was phased allowing the shop to trade as normal with newly refurbished departments opening in stages which included the Audio and TV; Men’s Wear; Sports; Toys; Bedroom Furniture; Fitted Kitchens and Large Electrical Departments – all across a 10 week period. With Guardian ECL’s 40 year history of an established working relationship with the John Lewis Partnership and Waitrose; no matter how large or small the project, Guardian ECL are dedicated in their commitment to achieve the Client’s expectations and the project was successfully delivered on time and on budget.

Guardian ECL are certainly experiencing a busy period considering the challenging ecomomy which is a very positive position going forward with projects already being designed and costed for 2012.

Many new clients are approaching Guardian ECL to assist in their future investment for energy programs and with the unique ability to offer clients a service demonstrating the savings factually alongside samples for clients to trial, this continues to meet the demands of Guardian ECL and it’s Customers by offering an all encompassing service in this ever changing industry.

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Roma Publications

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