John Lewis stores up own-brand suspense

Brand experts are watching with interest following the decision by Britain’s largest department store, John Lewis, to declare a major push into own-brand products in all 27 of its UK outlets.

The move comes on the back of exceptional sales from John Lewis’s new range of electric appliances that started two months ago as a trial launch.

According to The Independent, the 10 lines in the range have amassed a cool £1million of sales in just seven weeks at the Peter Jones store alone, located on London’s Kings Road.

Merchandise director, Jill Little, told the newspaper the figures confirm “how much trust and interest there is in the John Lewis brand.”

The success of the John Lewis household appliance range, which includes washing machines and dishwashers, has been accompanied by a new range of womeswear, which alongside other own-brand products, collectively accounted for 27 per cent of sales during 2004 (about £130m).

The revamp of John Lewis, its brand and stock, is echoed by the partnership’s decision to launch new clothing lines next year in collaboration with British designer Nick Munroe, among others.

The expansion into clothing reflects similar moves at Asda, the supermarket, which has unveiled the ‘George’ designer label founded by George Davies, and J Sainsbury, which has teamed up with industry greats like Sir Terence Conran.

Meanwhile, Jill Little believes “there is a lot more to come,” - alluding to John Lewis’s focus on own-brand products, which are expected to play a key part in kitting out 10 new stores over the next 10 years in towns such as Cambridge and Liverpool.

With its pledge “to be constantly alive to new opportunities,” John Lewis stores will also grace Northern Ireland, followed by Leicester, Cardiff and Portsmouth and finally Leeds in 2010.


29th November 2005

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