JOHN Lewis MD Andy Street has assured local business leaders that the new flagship Birmingham store will be no threat to the “phenomenal success” of Solihull.
Speaking at a Solihull Business Improvement District (BID) breakfast, Mr Street said he hoped to announce a “multimillion pound investment” in the borough branch by the end of the year, to ensure it remains one of John Lewis’ top performing stores.
“The recent trading in Solihull has been amazing,” he added. “The town is clearly outperforming others.
“It gives us confidence to continue to invest in Solihull. We’re committed to doing that.”
He stressed that the Birmingham New Street store, opening next year, would be more of an opportunity than a threat to Solihull businesses.
“It’s about Birmingham acting as the regional capital,” he added.
Mr Street, who is also the head of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said the borough formed a critical part of the LEP’s work to boost enterprise and jobs in the region and praised the local business community for helping to put the town in the top three places in the UK to run a business.
He also gave credit to local partners such as Solihull Council and local MPs, Lorely Burt and Caroline Spelman, for their work on strategic infrastructure projects, such as the M42 Gateway.
The LEP has played a pivotal role in securing Lord Heseltine’s Greater Birmingham Project, a pilot which urges the Government to hand over a share of £70 billion to Birmingham and neighbouring towns and counties. Shirley Sturzaker, Solihull BID Director added: “It is important for Solihull businesses to hear, first-hand, how important the town is to the region’s economy– and also the long-term commitment of John Lewis to Solihull. From the nature of discussions after the event the businesses were energised by Andy’s positivity and vision.”