She contradicted claims that large department stores are on their way out: “They said the same when I joined the firm 22 years ago. Human beings want relationships with brands – an emotional connection.”I love department stores. There is something captivating about a place that you can go and dwell, that, as you walk through the doors, you breathe a sigh of relief.” John Lewis’ sales went down in 2015 for the first time since the financial crisis, and while the “Never Knowingly Undersold” policy of price-matching has been criticised for not applying to online competitors, Ms Nickolds defended it.”If you’re going to have beautiful shops and ‘high-touch personal service’, you just cannot compete with a marketplace provider [such as Amazon],” she said.She insisted the slogan will stay and “reflects what we do… We’re spending millions of pounds being the best price on the high street”.The department store’s Christmas advert is due to be broadcast on Tuesday. This year’s offering is rumoured to strike a less melancholy note than 2015’s “Man on the Moon.” View latest offers from John Lewis The stores’ haberdashery and millinery departments are set to be downgraded under Ms Nickolds’ plans in favour of more experiential offerings, such as holidays and prosecco bars.Ms Nickolds, who began her career in the haberdashery department, is the chain’s first female boss. Booking a holiday, undergoing a preparatory bikini wax and steadying the nerves with a glass of prosecco: it doesn’t sound like traditional John Lewis fare.But all three offerings are among the services that could be offered by the department store as its new boss seeks to revamp the 152-year-old high street doyen (but not on Black Friday 2016).Paula Nickolds, the 43-year-old who will become managing director in January, said that she wanted to make shopping a “leisure day out”.”We’re modernising to reflect society,” she said in an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine. “I wouldn’t say bikini waxes are the most important thing we’re doing, but consumers do want more emotion, engagement, fun and imagination. We’re dialling that up.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.