John Lewis, a UK-based chain of high street retail stores, has signed an agreement with Swiss-based tour operator, Kuoni, to locate travel stores in four John Lewis department stores around the country.
The first four travel stores are earmarked to open by the coming autumn in the John Lewis stores located in London Oxford Street, Reading, Southampton and Cardiff.
Kuoni is in the process of looking for new staff for the stores and expects to create nineteen full time jobs. The stores are likely to be fitted with similar hi-tech equipment to some of Kuoni’s existing stores, and include the use of plasma televisions and I-pads.
As part of the new relationship between the two companies, Kuoni will promote John Lewis travel insurance to all of its customers, whether calling at a store, contacting a call centre or on-line.
Kuoni managing director, Derek Jones, said, ‘For us the key advantage of this deal is the brand awareness; much of our high-street presence has been about raising awareness. The John Lewis customer base is very similar to the Kuoni customer base so having our brand associated with John Lewis gives us additional, significant visibility.’
Commenting on the long-term future of the John Lewis-based Kuoni stores, Jones said, ‘The plan is to create a long-term partnership. After 12 months we will take a decision on the future expansion of the stores. There are still some gaps in our own shop portfolio and we may plug those gaps with John Lewis concession stores. There is a commitment for more than one year.’