Retailer Spotlight – John Lewis
Founded over 150 years ago, John Lewis is an iconic British retailer. Besides their 36 department stores, there’s also supermarket chain Waitrose with 330 stores. Both companies are owned by the John Lewis Partnership. Since 1929, the business has operated as a trust on behalf of its employees (referred to as partners). The trust pays partners an annual bonus based on the company’s profits. This unique structure makes John Lewis the largest employee-owned business in the UK.
John Lewis have built their success on their reputation among the public and their customers. Surveys have placed the company as having the best customer experience for a non-specialist store on the high street. Reflecting their trusted status, the company holds a royal warrant to supply ‘haberdashery and household goods’ to the Queen. Since 1925, John Lewis has affirmed their motto ‘never knowingly undersold’. The company will match any lower price offered by a comparable competitor for the same product.
Like most retailers, John Lewis has experienced a difficult eighteen months. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, they announced that there would be no staff bonus for the first time since 1953. Store closures were announced earlier this year too. Both decisions were driven by the shift towards online shopping among the British public through the pandemic. Despite this, the company has adapted to the changing retail landscape. Up to 70% of purchases are now reported to be online.
Unlock EMEA has experience working with John Lewis. Our clients often cite the retailer as an aspirational target. As a department store, they carry products across multiple categories. Established brands dominate their product range. And with an affluent and loyal customer base, this is to be expected. New brands looking to secure placement in John Lewis stores will see this as a challenge. But with the right experience and partners, it is certainly possible.
Our team are connected with John Lewis buyers and we can offer honest advice about the suitability of your product for John Lewis stores.