JOHN Lewis and Waitrose has opened its first concept shop just across the Solent in Southampton.

It features 'experience playgrounds' where shoppers can experiment with everything from makeup to electrical gadgets, talks on subjects such as gardening and interior design, and in-store specialists including chefs, designers, gadget experts and personal stylists.

They will show customers how to overhaul their wardrobe, take the perfect photo with their new phone, remodel their kitchen or cook an impressive dinner party meal.

The store, at West Quay, will also have a farm shop, roof garden and cookery school — plus pop-up workshops ranging from barista and photography courses to wreath-making and modern calligraphy.

The new concept shop opened on Tuesday and, if it's successful, could be rolled out across the country.

Peter Cross, customer experience director at John Lewis and Partners, said: ‘Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in as many areas of their lives as we possibly can — in a way that is uplifting and inspiring.

"We know shopping for a new gadget or beauty product can be a daunting experience, with so much choice on offer. We want to help navigate customers through that.

"Our new concept shop is an example of how we’re reinventing the department store of the future."

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