Ipswich: Shelves are filling up at John Lewis/Waitrose ready for grand opening

A WEEK before the stores’ formal opening, the first stock has started to arrive at the new John Lewis at home and Waitrose superstores in Ipswich.

The new stores on the Futura Park site off Ransomes Way are due to open their doors to the public next Thursday morning at 9am.

And they are just the first new retailers on the site – a further tranche of stores is expected to open on the former Crane site next summer, including DFS and Costa Coffee.

The first stock to arrive is non-perishable goods for the John Lewis at home store. The first Waitrose non-perishables are due to arrive at the weekend.

A spokeswoman for John Lewis said: “Over the next few days 16 multi-decker lorries full of merchandise will arrive at the shop.

“Among this will be 16,000 green crates of stock, which include small goods, such as kitchen accessories and china and glass – if laid end to end it would stretch for 6.5 miles.”

The new Waitrose store will have 250 employees and John Lewis At Home will have 125 staff. Eventually some of the staff may work between the two stores although initially they will be dedicated on one or the other.

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Waitrose is part of the John Lewis Partnership, and all staff are partners in the business and share in a profit-sharing bonus.

About 2,500 people applied for jobs and those who were successful are currently preparing for next week’s double opening.

There was some controversy over the fact that the stores have been built on an out-of-town site, but the borough council hopes they will draw visitors from across east Suffolk to Ipswich.

The new roads on Futura Park were being officially opened by the Ipswich mayor, Mary Blake, today – and from next Thursday bus services will be routed past the new stores.