CHESTER’S new John Lewis branch will open its doors next month, the retailer has announced.

Shoppers will be able to hit the aisles of the homeware store from 9am on Wednesday, September 28.

The shop on Greyhound Retail Park will be John Lewis’s first ‘At Home’ branch in the North West and only the fifth nationally.

Manager Mark Blundell said the chain had been ‘desperate’ to find a site in Chester for some time.

He said: “Although we’re in the midst of the construction phase our new shop is really taking shape.

“We know that the retail industry is tough at the moment, but we are really confident in this formation and we are really confident in the John Lewis brand.”

More than 1,650 people applied for the 200 newly created positions, most of which have now been filled after several weeks of interviews at the Queen Hotel, City Road.

The Chronicle was this week given a sneak preview of the 38,000sq ft site, where workmen are installing ceilings, light fittings and plumbing.

Shopfitters, who arrived on Monday, will put the finishing touches to the unit’s interior in the next four weeks.

In mid-September 120 staff will spend nine days stocking shelves with more than £2.5m worth of furniture, homeware, linen and electrical products.

The finished branch will boast a 72-seat cafe and a customer collection point where shoppers can pick up online purchases – including clothing not available in store.

The shop will open from 9am-7pm on Monday-Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sundays.