Much excitement in The Sewing Shed over the last few weeks with the opening of the new John Lewis store in Leeds. The destination store at the head of the new retail development Victoria Gate next to the market in Leeds has been long awaited. On my ‘birthday treat’ visit on Monday I happened across a few of my students and Mums of students who just couldn’t keep away either; admiring the beautiful new store, the carefully chosen range of quality products that John Lewis are known for, and all the JLP card holders queuing up to get their free cake and coffee. But my destination was of course the haberdashery department on the top floor.
Just the day before The Sunday Times reported in an interview with John Lewis’ new managing director, Paula Nickolds that “it is undergoing its most radical makeover in decades. Some traditional products, including hats and haberdashery, are being downgraded in favour of new services, including holidays, in-store prosecco bars and bikini waxes”. Ms Nickolds, who takes up her position in January as the store’s first female boss interestingly began her career in the store’s haberdashery section.
This prompted an immediate online backlash from customers and crafters with 5,000 signing an on line petition to protect what many see as a British Institution. The retail giant has since backed down and the department store confirms the beloved buttons will, in fact, be safe. Although the range of fabrics in the Leeds store is limited, due to floor space, I suspect – their range of equipment and gadgets is excellent with many a few items finding their way onto my Christmas list. If you want to stock up on sewing gadgets from quilting clips and tuning tools I recommend a trip, but surely what MS. Nickolds hasn’t realised is that a Prosecco bar and haberdashery department might site quite nicely together!
November 9, 2016