A FLAGSHIP department store in thecentre:mk is preparing for a multi-million pound refurbishment to bring it up to date.
John Lewis is looking to reshape part of its 120,000 sq ft shop to increase its sales area by around 20,000 sq ft.
Despite what he called a ‘challenging economic climate’, Paul Hunt, managing director of John Lewis Milton Keynes said: “We have been in the town for over 30 years and are committed to staying here, so want to significantly improve the shopping experience for our customers and help to encourage additional shoppers into Milton Keynes and the centre:mk.”
The upgrade would also see changes to the ‘shopping environment.’ This would mean departments being changed to take new concepts, brands and product ranges.
John Lewis is also proposing to enhance the facade and access into the shop.
Mr Hunt added: “The enhancements would make the shop one of our regional flagships, making it more welcoming and inspiring with a high-quality interior including innovative displays and exciting new brands.
“Each department would be given a full makeover and layouts enhanced to make it easier for our customers to browse.
“Services would be improved and The Place to Eat restaurant relocated and upgraded with a second eating outlet introduced.”
He added that the proposed improvements to the facade would be “sensitively” carried out “to ensure they are in keeping with the surroundings and help to strengthen our presence within the shopping centre”.
Before submitting a planning application for the proposed improvements, John Lewis is inviting members of the local community to view plans at a public exhibition. They have already held discussions with Milton Keynes Council and the owners of thecentre:mk.
The exhibition will be held outside the John Lewis department store in Middleton Hall, the centre:mk, from 10am-7pm on Friday, September 23 and from 10am -2pm on Saturday, September 24.
Mr Hunt added: “The views of local residents, shoppers and businesses are very important to us, so we hope that people will take the opportunity to see our proposal. The exhibition will provide more detailed information on our plans and the benefits of what we are proposing, as well as visuals.”
John Lewis is aiming to submit the application towards the end of October. If it is approved by Milton Keynes Council, construction would start in early spring 2012 and is expected to take seven months. The work would be phased to enable the store to remain open.