It’s a really exciting time at John Lewis at the moment. We are moving full swing into the biggest period of expansion that we have undertaken to date, doubling the size of the business over the next decade.

Last week, our latest store opened to the public at the new Liverpool One centre.

So, what’s that got to do with me over here in Manchester? Well, our John Lewis shops are so big that a lot of additional help is required to open them from specialists around the business. A number of our Cheadle and Trafford department managers, section managers and partners have been travelling to Liverpool for the past couple of months to ensure the shop opens on time, all new partners are trained and that we wow customers from day one.

But it’s also a win here at my branches. The team helping at Liverpool has returned absolutely energised by the launch process. They have worked with the latest shop-fitting kit, learnt new techniques and are totally motivated by seeing our newest shop open in such spectacular fashion. And what about those left keeping the home fires burning? Well, it’s a big thank you from me for taking the strain while their colleagues have been away, to make sure that standards don’t drop at home. They are pleased to see their colleagues back and are making sure they gain from their experience.

So what next? Well, there has just been a call for specialist helpers for our next branch opening. Roll on Leicester in September.

Maggie Porteous, John Lewis, Manchester