JOHN Lewis has given a sneak peek inside its new £15 million York store ahead of its opening next month.
Work is well under way on the two-storey, 92,000 sq ft shop which has created 300 jobs in the city.
Builders have only two weeks left on site before the occupation team starts moving in £8 million of stock in preparation for the store’s opening on April 10.
The ground floor, which will house fashion, is taking shape with a custom-made concrete staircase, each step of which has been cast on site.
It will join the escalators and lifts in taking customers to the second floor for homeware and electrical, which will boast more than 100 televisions on display as well as fitted kitchens and bathrooms, the first of which is being installed on Friday.
Beauty is to be the first department welcoming shoppers at the front of the store, under a giant cut-out in the ceiling, through which lighting will hang from the first floor.
The staff have all now been appointed and will start training in neighbouring stores over the next two weeks. Manager Robert Garnish will meet his senior management team for the first time on Tuesday.
Mr Garnish said: “I’m really looking forward to getting my team together and showing them the store next week.
“It is all really starting to come together now. Every time I come to the site it is amazing how much it has progressed.
“We’re all just on count down now for the opening.”
Mr Garnish revealed the store’s opening displays would be based on the theme of the 150th anniversary of John Lewis, which is being celebrated this year.
The restaurant is on the first floor, with the store’s Hotel Chocolat concession offering 40 covers on the ground floor and up to an additional 30 covers outside.
Mr Garnish said: “Hotel Chocolat is a new offering for John Lewis. Particularly in a city like York, with such a strong confectionery heritage, to be able to bring something like that is a great story.”
The store’s stock will start arriving 12 days before the opening, with more than 100 deliveries expected to bring more than 1,000 cages of stock.
The occupation team will then layout the goods, with each of the 2,400 fixtures having a 12-point checklist, covering everything from the dimensions the towels should be folded to.
Occupation manager Gavin Smith said: “We spent a lot of time on working with the architecture of the shop, not just the shop fittings.
“This is my 15th new shop project and I’m more excited about this shop than any other because we are delivering lots of new fixtures. This will be the most up-to-date store build we have ever done.”
The new store, which is part of the £90 million Vangarde development at Monks Cross, is John Lewis’s first opening of 2014, and will be the chain’s 41st shop.