LORRIES carrying £6.5m worth of John Lewis stock will soon arrive in Oxford as the Westgate’s anchor store nears completion.

The Oxford Mail was given a sneak peek inside the new 120,000 sq ft department store, which is due to open on October 24.

Its 24-week store fitting - which began in April - is close to completion and its multi-million pound stock will be delivered from next week.

The view from the roof of John Lewis 

Senior manager of estates and delivery, Gavin Smith, said: “It’s a really exciting time, we have wanted to be in Oxford for a long time.

“We have had to fit 3,000 individual fixtures, each with a 14-point checklist, so it’s been a lot of work.

“Now it needs to be brought to life with the stock which is being delivered from next Wednesday.”

He said the 35 multi-deck lorries would be spread out across different times of day to avoid congestion in the coming weeks.

Mr Smith, who has helped open 25 other John Lewis stores across the country, will hand the keys over to branch manager Julie Blake and her 300-strong team ten days before the big opening.

The firm said the emphasis was on the full customer experience and not just traipsing around the shops.

A bureau de change it said reflected Oxford’s attraction for tourists but other services such as an opticians, a nail bar and several cafes and restaurant are scattered across its four floors.

More than 1,000 brands including Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss have also been announced.

John Lewis staff will even discuss curtain patterns and kitchen design with you in a designated home area.

Ms Blake said: “It’s a fantastic time for us and it’s the first time I have taken on a new shop from the beginning so it’s exciting for me.

“We want it to be about the whole customer experience, shoppers could spend hours here.”

The entire ground floor, she said, as she led a tour of the building, is dedicated to women and fashion.

Large walkways will aid movement around the ‘heavily trafficked’ floor which has three customer entrances.

When it comes to traffic outside the centre and around the city itself, John Lewis will have to draw up it own travel plan after three months - mainly detailing how its 300 employees will get to work.

In the meantime 100 employees, based at other stores, have been drafted in to the help set up the store.

The company has put them up in the Jury’s Inn hotel and they are travelling in by bus.

Later opening hours will also ease traffic, in line with the Westgate-wide policy.

Mr Smith said: “Don’t judge us on the opening week - the opening day is always going to be busy but city centres are organic.

“One of the main drivers of our opening hours being later is so workers travelling here don’t clash with commuters - sometimes you might open a standalone unit at 9am if you haven’t got traffic concerns but we are opening from 10am.”