Capitalising on its brand and extending its own-brand offer are two of the key ways in which John Lewis is aiming to survive and even thrive in the current economic situation.
At last week’s inaugural Housewares Conference, John Lewis Partnership’s buying director, home, Maureen Dunn, gave her audience a comprehensive checklist of actions being undertaken by the retailer as trading conditions worsen.
First, though, she outlined precisely why retailers are having such a tough time. Life for consumers, she said, is generally more expensive, and they are worrying more about it. They are also being bombarded with different messages and options from retailers, which are themselves facing increased competition and are having to engage in more discounting.
Dunn said that JLP is now building heavily on its famous name by re-branding all stores John Lewis and introducing more John Lewis own-label product. It is investing in the shops and in its online service, and also investing heavily in marketing for the first time: its spring television campaign broke on April 2 and is centred on home merchandise.
John Lewis was also opening more new stores and offering improved product availability, within seven days. There would be more exclusives from known brands, and the retailer was also underlining its reputation for value and great service. And, crucially, added Dunn, John Lewis was looking after its people, by sharing power and profit.
Read more about the Housewares Conference, organised by HousewaresLive.net and Housewares Magazine, in the magazine’s April issue.