More than 2,000 people have applied for just over 200 posts at a new John Lewis store in Staffordshire.
The multi-million pound 42,000 sq ft department store, which is due to open in Tamworth this autumn, will bolster the town’s retail offer at the out-of-town Ventura Park, which already has branches of Marks & Spencer, Next and Boots.
The Tamworth At Home store will be the first to be opened north of Birmingham – the nearest is Solihull.
The store’s branch manager Isabel MacDonald, formally operations manager at the chain’s Solihull store, revealed that many of the 211 people recruited to work at Tamworth’s new “contemporary” and “striking” store were local.
She said: “This is bucking the trend of what you would expect to see at the moment for retailers in terms of investment but we are both committed to developing our online offer and in bricks and mortar shops hand in hand.
“We are confident Tamworth is a great location for us. It will offer something to our customers north of Birmingham who at the moment have to travel to Solihull or shop online.
“We had 2,000 people apply for jobs and have selected 211 partners to join us in store, the vast majority of whom are from the local area, which is fantastic for the local economy.”
It is hoped that the knock-on effect of John Lewis’ confidence to invest in Tamworth will encourage other retailers to follow suit and set up shop in the town.
Ms MacDonald, who grew up near Cannock, added: “What we have found is that when a John Lewis store opens it acts as a real anchor for the area and encourages further investment.”
The store will sell home and electrical products and customers will be able to order fashion and beauty items online for collection in store.
There will be a cafe catering for 72 people and there will also be online ordering points in store.