Upmarket retail chain John Lewis is celebrating 150 years of history – as the clock ticks ever closer towards the launch of its £100 million store in Birmingham.

Staff at the John Lewis store in Solihull are marking the retailer’s 150 years with a series of events, as all eyes turn to New Street for the opening of the store which will be the anchor tenant of the new £150 million Grand Central development.

Head of Solihull branch Julie Blake forecast that the 2015 launch of the store above the newly developed New Street Station would mark the beginning of the next chapter of John Lewis history in the West Midlands.

She said: “This will be the only full line department store – with 350,000 product lines – that John Lewis will open in 2015. This is a really important step in terms of the regeneration of the city and we are really proud to be the selected shop. This will be a state-of-the-art development, it will be the first John Lewis with national and international access by being on top of a train station. It is at the gateway to the Midlands and beyond.”

She added: “This will be an enhancement of the brand without a shadow of a doubt – it’s incredibly important for us. We will be looking to fit out fairly shortly. I went in with Network Rail and it was lovely to see the building itself.”

In March, 550 workers at Solihull celebrated eight weeks’ extra wages along with around 90,000 colleague across the UK as the John Lewis Partnership announced annual pre-tax profits of £329.1 million, guaranteeing a 15 per cent bonus.

The roots of the retailer’s continuing success date back to John Spedan Lewis, when he first established the partnership model back in 1929. The group has since grown to become the most successful co-owned business in the UK.

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