The Westfield/Hammerson partnership has agreed the "design and layout" of a John Lewis store, with a deal expected to be signed in the next two months.
John Burton, development director for Westfield, was speaking at the compulsory purchase order (CPO) inquiry into the £1.5 billion development of the Whitgift Centre.
Mr Burton added: "I believe we will complete a commercial deal in the next couple of months for John Lewis to be part of the development.
"I can confirm that today."
Mr Burton also said if everything goes to plan, the partnership expect to start demolition of the existing centre within 12 months.
He confirmed plans are also in place for a Marks and Spencer store to be drawn up, which would be "two-thirds" the size of the John Lewis outlet.