TESCO has revealed plans to open a new store in Croydon – on the site currently used by John Lewis at home.
However, the supermarket giant says it is not trying to force the retailer out of its £7.5 million Purley Way store, which opened less than a year ago.
Instead Tesco wants to "safeguard long-term investments and jobs" when John Lewis relocates to central Croydon.
This move is planned within the next ten years but Tesco, which owns the site, has already started consulting with the public in anticipation of its tenant's departure.
Tesco corporate affairs manager Tony Fletcher said the new store would offer "first class shopping" and create a "green corridor" for pedestrians and cyclists.
He added: "John Lewis has long-term plans to move to a central location in Croydon.
"We are keen to safeguard long-term investment and jobs in the area when John Lewis relocates.
"Achieving planning consent will also help us to plan for the future. There are clear benefits to achieving certainty at an early stage over the future use of a site and the associated benefits that it will provide."
Hundreds of customers queued outside John Lewis at home when it was opened in August 2010.
The store is only the second of its kind in the country, and sells furniture, furnishing accessories, homeware, electronic goods and home technology
A spokeswoman for the company said: "John Lewis remains committed to its long-term plan to open a larger store in Croydon town centre in the next five to ten years. We are working closely with the council to encourage town centre plans to come to fruition, so Tesco is developing its future plans for the site."
John Lewis had long been associated with becoming the anchor store in Minerva's proposed £500 million Park Place retail development in the town centre.
This would have involved the redevelopment of Park Street, St George's Walk and part of Katharine Street.
But with Minerva facing a string of financial difficulties and the council deciding to pull out of any partnership with the company, the retail complex seems unlikely to happen.