Beds, Herts & Bucks

High Wycombe John Lewis expands as 25-year clothes ban ends

A Buckinghamshire department store is to take on 200 extra staff after being allowed to sell clothes for the first time, 25 years after it opened.

Wycombe District Council had put conditions on John Lewis in High Wycombe in 1987, stopping it selling clothes and shoes, to try to protect town centre businesses.

When the ban ran out in 2007, the store began plans for expansion.

The council's planning committee has now approved a £15m redevelopment.

The 20-year clause in the store's original planning application banned it from selling men's and women's fashion, children's wear and beauty products.

Long-term future

The shop called itself John Lewis Home and Leisure, the only store in the chain to do so, and was restricted to selling items such as furniture and kitchen products.

The refurbishment, which will begin in early 2013, will see back-office space released to increase the shop's selling area by about a third and allow the extra jobs to be created.

Managing Director Lisa Williams said she was "absolutely delighted" with the decision, which she said would "guarantee the long-term future" of the store.

"Our investment demonstrates the commitment we have to the town after trading here for more than 20 years," she said.

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