John Lewis kicks off search for PR agency ahead of Birmingham store opening

Agencies are being invited to compete for a low six-figure brief to develop and implement an extended comms campaign for John Lewis' first Birmingham branch.

John Lewis: an artist's impression of the Birmingham New Street store
John Lewis: an artist's impression of the Birmingham New Street store

‘Middle England’s favourite department store’ is taking on the Midlands with the opening of a regional flagship store in the centre of Birmingham, scheduled for autumn 2015.

The retailer is planning to have an agency in place for January and envisages the work lasting at least until Christmas 2015.

The store, currently under construction in the Grand Central retail development above New Street station, will compete for footfall with other department stores such as Selfridges.

The brief calls for a campaign targeting consumers, stakeholders and opinion formers, and will focus on milestones in the shop opening programme and the "unique" partnership structure of John Lewis.

There is a John Lewis branch in nearby Solihull but the Birmingham branch – at 250,000 square feet – will be much bigger and similar in size to its Cardiff flagship store.

The agency briefing process is being handled by John Lewis senior comms manager Sian Grieve.

Separately, a John Lewis spokeswoman confirmed that Peter Cross, the company’s director of comms, has returned to work.

Cross was suspended in July, but was cleared to come back to his post at the end of the month following the completion of an internal investigation, about which the company declined to provide further details.

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