John Lewis Partnership gives update on new strategy
The John Lewis Partnership has given an update on the direction it wants to take following a strategic review that has taken in feedback from staff, customers and suppliers.
In a statement, the partnership’s chairman, Dame Sharon White, said both Waitrose and John Lewis will “double down” on making shopping easier and more convenient for customers. This will include investing in availability both in-store and online and improving useability and personalisation on their apps and websites. They will also offer better rewards for the most loyal customers.
White said the John Lewis department store will need to be “compelling and meaningful” to the next generation of shoppers and how they want to live. This will include a big focus on the home and nursery categories with the introduction of a new home collection, expanded gift lists and more exciting and inspirational design. In addition, the business will introduce more affordable ‘entry point’ pricing.
John Lewis will also be working towards becoming a digital first retailer where stores will be used to showcase products. The retailer has already announced that a number of stores will not reopen following the coronavirus lockdown and said it expects John Lewis to be a 60% online retailer compared to 40% prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, Waitrose will increase investment in its own-brand food, widen its offering to include more local products and multi-ethnic food, and make its food available through new routes. The supermarket will also be rebalancing it store estate and updating existing stores to meet customer expectations.
The partnership will also look to grow its successful financial services business and potentially build a new business out of its Waitrose Garden, Leckford Estate, Waitrose Farm, landscaping and John Lewis Outdoor Living businesses.
Other ideas include creating a new channel for customers to rent its products or a marketplace to sell used items, and turning unwanted department stores into affordable housing.
Speaking about next steps, White said: “We need a transformation in the business and the action we take over the next nine to eighteen months will be crucial. As you can see there’s more work to do on detailed planning, but I hope that you get a good sense of our future direction.
“I am very conscious that a strategy – unless it is supported by partners and is well executed – is just another piece of paper. It is how we deliver on the plan and the commitment from all partners that will make the difference.”
The partnership’s executive team will begin discussing the proposed strategy with partners in the autumn and will be visiting every site over the course of next year and mix this with virtual and physical meetings.
White added: “A successful strategy will mean we can invest more in our customers and more in partners. The innovation, commitment and passion of partners gives me total confidence in our success.”
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