Retail Design Agency

  • Project Title
    Horsham Trial Store Concept
  • Client
    John Lewis & Partners
  • Category
    Research, Strategy, Interior Design, Concept Design, In Store Comms

“The Yard team were inspiring; in their ambition to work with us to design and create more, to push us to think differently and drive new opportunities. Their passion and dedication to our brand was outstanding. An absolute pleasure to work with!” 


Sarah Bonner, Senior Manager, Space Planning



Concept Store

How do you make a British high street institution relevant for tomorrow in the face of huge change in the retail landscape and consumer behaviour?



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Interior Design and Strategy



A store for tomorrow that’s flexible for the future

Push the thinking and change the mindset


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So how did we bring our Big Idea and fundamental mindset shift to life whilst never accepting the expected?

Challenge the norm

We used the Horsham branch as our testing ground, transforming it from a ‘Home’ branch to a first-of-its-kind mini department store, complete with beauty through to fashion, gifting and homeware. The store is planned around a new customer experience of product presentation, orientation and in store communications.

This is a move away from traditional categories and allows for a lot more cross-selling to increase basket size. The majority of department stores around the world are designed based on a race-track circuit. Here we have trialed a diagonal ‘tree and branch’ pathway taking you directly to the heart of the store which hosts our biggest stage, The Showcase. This is an area that can be activated to celebrate a moment, a season, a trend, a brand, local initiative or simply bring the best across the whole store together under one lifestyle.

Entertain, engage, explore

Theatrical arches and stage-inspired displays that are related to life stages  (from first home to first baby) are strategically positioned  throughout the store to ‘pinball’ consumers to different departments. Partners have been retrained as experiential retailers, key to the storytelling experience, whilst an evolving calendar of events and store activations (such as frequently changing seasonal displays at the entrance) help to tell a story on every visit. Services such as ‘The World of Design’ in the homeware department and experiences such as the Wonder Trail (a trail at children’s height of characters for them to find), encourage discovery and play for adults and children alike. This is a store experience that cannot be replicated online.

Adapting to local community needs

The store stayed open and operational as the shop-fit was completed in phases, illustrating the ‘test and learn’ mindset, and has already begun 1-2-1 customer interviews. Jack Howe, Branch Manager, John Lewis Horsham, says: “We’ve listened to our local customers in Horsham and we’re thrilled they can now shop and experience a larger John Lewis offering with more departments. Early customer reaction has been incredibly positive and they love our new look. As shoppers return to the high street, our multi-million pound investment provides a major boost for the town centre and will attract more shoppers into the store.”


Digital Integration

In addition, John Lewis & Partners are leaning into digital retail rather than shying away from it. The collection point for online orders sits outside of the store and is open outside of opening hours, making it more accessible for customers, whilst the JL&P app can enhance the experience in store, with consumers scanning products to find out more information and availability.

Flexible Architecture

A fundamental design feature is that everything is moveable. Walls have been knocked down, and shelving units (repurposed and modified, in a commitment to sustainable and responsible store design) can easily move to different sections of the store. This means that the store can quickly react to commercial insights and feedback from customers, Partners and brands to continuously improve the customer experience.


Championing a new adaptive mindset. Despite its 150-year history, the heritage department store understands that the world of retail is changing, as are customer behaviours, and that it must adapt too. Our work will help John Lewis create a store fit for tomorrow, and flexible for the future – and ultimately a brand that remains the go-to for all life’s moments.

This new adaptive mindset is certainly a step in the right direction and a brave, but necessary move for a department store of over 150 years. It’s clear that John Lewis understands the world of retail is changing and that they must adapt too. The store’s trail concepts will help them to be responsive, agile and ultimately a brand that remains the go-to for all life’s moments.

Interior Design and Strategy

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