DEPARTMENT store chain John Lewis pieced another two parts of its £500 million Magna Park jigsaw together yesterday with its managing director saying big-ticket furniture sales have held up well since the Brexit vote.

The 46-store retailer has expanded its Milton Keynes distribution park to 2.4 million sqft with the opening of its Magna Park 2 and 3 centres, representing £150 million of a total £500 million five-year investment at the Buckinghamshire site, located just a few minutes drive from the M1 motorway.

Andy Street said that unlike the financial collapse of 2008, when furniture sales plummeted, the big-ticket home goods sector was still rising and was a good micro-indicator of the relative robustness of the market (see related for a separate look at John Lewis' Home performance).

John Lewis’ investment at Milton Keynes includes a specialist training centre within Magna Park 3, equipping partners with the skills to deliver and install products such as wall-mounted televisions, washing machines and flat-packed furniture. The building is also its national hub for its two-man delivery of large items such as upholstery.

The retailer said delivered products now represent 47 percent of orders, up from just 4 percent a decade ago, with the latest phase of its logistics investment also allowing it to consolidate orders of fashion and non-fashion items into single packages. This, it said, would mean 850,000 fewer deliveries, and nearly 200,000 fewer miles for its trucks to travel.

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