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Home, nursery and digital focus for John Lewis

Sharon White1John Lewis will focus on home and nursery as a cornerstone of its strategy with more entry point pricing and more home products available from Waitrose stores.

In a letter to the group’s employees, Sharon White, John Lewis Partnership chairman said she expected John Lewis in-store sales to account for just 40% of sales.

‘Customers feel such a strong emotional connection to the brand. We now need to be as compelling and meaningful to the next generation of customers and how they want to live.

‘We will focus on home and nursery - our traditional strengths - with a new home collection and expanded gift lists launching this autumn; more exciting and inspirational design; more affordable “entry point” pricing; stronger curation so that shoppers can find what they want easily; and more local assortments that reflect the diversity of our customers.

‘As customers increasingly shop online, we will become digital first. We have catch-up investments to make in johnlewis.com.  

‘Shops will always be crucial to the brand but they will be in support of online. Over the next five years we expect to rebalance our shop estate so that we have the right space in the right locations where people want to shop. John Lewis Home will be available in Waitrose. We will get more experimental with store formats. Shops will showcase our brilliant products - displaying great design with more space given over to experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. 

‘As flagged in March, we are reviewing our Never Knowingly Undersold price promise to ensure we offer fair value for how our customers shop today.

‘We will simplify how we work, taking out duplication and cost. Our central teams will work in service of our customers and we will give more freedom to frontline partners to do what’s best for customers. We are still targeting at least £100m of savings in head office costs. We have reduced the number of senior managers by one third, and our transformation of Tech & Change - which draws on new technology and expertise from outside suppliers - also helps with the target. We will aim to make savings as early as possible this financial year and next. These are very difficult decisions and I deeply regret the personal impact on partners.’

White also said they were looking at transforming excess space ‘to good social use. We are exploring with third parties the concept of new mixed-use affordable housing,’ as part of a move to expand its services.