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From John Lewis and Debenhams to Halfords and Footasylum: how IRUK Top500 retailers are rethinking what they stand for

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as two major department stores unveil a rebrand. Debenhams and John Lewis are both setting out what makes them, and their stores, different as they look to compete in a market where sales are moving online fast. For John Lewis, the emphasis is on the role of its partners in offering customer service, while for Debenhams, it’s about recasting the way that shoppers think of its stores as part of a seamless multichannel service.

The rebrand comes after a quiet summer for retailers, thanks to the continuing heatwave effect. According to BRC analysis out today, the weather drove food sales – but non-food transactions stayed slow. Stores saw their sales fall, while online grew at an anaemic rate. 

Halfords, with a trading update out today, is one good example of a retailer that is adjusting to a retail world in which shoppers buy online and need a good reason to come into stores: it’s now seeing 85% of its online orders picked up in-store, where there’s an array of fitting services for both bikes and cars.

Footasylum also gave an update on its latest trading this week: it’s seeing fast growth in online sales but has warned on profits. It says its stores need to be bigger in order to offer better customer service and cultivate brand relationships further. That’s going to take investment – denting profits as a result, when combined with that slow high street shopping environment. Meanwhile eBay says that it’s seeing evidence on its marketplace that shoppers want to balance their offline and online lives: this may give hope to those looking to boost the performance of their stores within a multichannel model.

Today’s guest comment comes from David Nicholls of Fujitsu who considers how in-store technology can help boost businesses as they move into the autumn. 

RetailCraft podcast

Find out more about the first two episodes of InternetRetailing’s RetailCraft podcasts featuring Heals and the Rug Company.

RetailCraft 01 – David Kohn of Heals – “probably the most sceptical man in the industry”? Surely not!

RetailCraft 02 – Sarah Stagg of The Rug Company and the 2018 IREU Top500


Find out more about upcoming InternetRetailing webinars and register for free on the InternetRetailing webinar page. You can also catch up with past webinars on the page.

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