The scheme launches this month with an initial 20 badges for: Urdu; Arabic; French; Mandarin; Spanish; German; Italian; Hindi; Polish; Punjabi; Bengali; Gujarati; Cantonese; Portuguese; Dutch; Russian; Sign language; Hebrew (male & female); Tamil and Filipino.
More languages are set to be added depending on demand from staff and customers. Welsh is not included as a Welsh speaking badge is already available to staff in Wales.
The initiative will initially be introduced in 10 Waitrose stores and seven John Lewis stores, before rolling out more widely in the future.
Katie Papakonstantinou, head of product services at the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), which owns and operates Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners, commented: “The UK is made up of a wealth of different languages and cultures and we want to celebrate that diversity by offering an even more tailored level of customer service. We want everyone to feel at home in our shops and this is a great way to ensure that those who speak a different language feel even more welcome.”