The latest out-of-town superstore has opened in the south east today. John Lewis says its store in Ashford is good for local jobs and the town's economy. But is another out of town store too much for our declining town centres?
Andrea Thomas has been finding out. She spoke to new employee Tiffany Chittenden, Director of Selling, Maggie Porteous and Ashford Councillor Graham Galpin.
A drive to recruit sales assistants and specialist advisers to work at a new John Lewis store in Ashford begins today with 125 positions to be filled.
The retailer's hunt for "partners" to fill a variety of roles comes on the morning that the newest ONS unemployment figures are due to be announced.
The shop, located close to junction 9 of the M20, is John Lewis’s tenth "at home" store, set to open before the end of 2013.
Rebekah Hawley, recruitment coordinator, said: “We are looking for hardworking people who can use their own initiative and are eager to work within a team.
"There are a broad range of roles available and we offer both full and part-time contacts.”
Staff become a part of the company's partnership structure, meaning they are co-owners of the business and receive benefits including an annual bonus, access to holiday and leisure facilities, education and career development support.
John Lewis & Bracknell-based Waitrose staff will receive bonuses worth 17% of salary after the group shrugged off tough high street conditions to report a 15.8% surge in annual profits. The employee-owned firm reported pre-tax, pre-bonus profits of £409.6 million for the 12 months to January.
Figures out today show there was an 18% jump in internet sales this Christmas. The British Retail Consortium said December was an "underwhelming" month for stores, but retail giants like Bracknell-based John Lewis are reporting a surge in online sales.
A hundred and forty new jobs have been created with the opening of a new department store in West Sussex. More than 1,300 people applied for the positions at 'John Lewis at Home' in Chichester, meaning nine applicants for each job. The store focuses on furniture and electrical products.