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How John Lewis Partnership’s multichannel strategy developed in 2016

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The John Lewis Partnership this week published its latest full-year results. Here we look at what they say about the development of multichannel strategy at John Lewis, which is ranked Elite in IRUK Top500 research, and Waitrose . Overall, gross sales at the partnership came in at £11.4bn in the year to January 28, 3.2% more than the previous year. Pre-tax profits of £488.2bn were 65.4% up on last time.


Waitrose gross sales of £6.6bn were 2.7% up on last year, but fell by 0.2% on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures. Operating profits came in at £253.5m before the partner bonus and exceptional items. That’s 9% up on last year. But after exceptional items, the figure came in at £206.2m, 11.3% down on last time.

The retailer said its strategy was to focus on investment in existing shops. Online, it said export sales in partnership with British Corner Shop, which sells to people living abroad in more than 100 countries, had risen by 14.9% during the year. It is also working with the Alibaba Group to sell in China for the first time.

John Lewis

John Lewis gross sales of £4.7bn were 4% up on last year, or 2.7% on a like-for-like basis. Operating profits came in at £243.2m before partners bonus and exceptional items. That’s 2.8% down on last year. But after exceptional items, the figure came in at £2231.4m, 7.5% down on last time. Total online sales grew by 16.2%, but shop sales fell by 1%.

The retailer said it had invested in its supply chain to support a “large, faster and more convenient multichannel business”. Those investments included opening two new distribution centres at Magna Park, Milton Keynes, where both fashion and non-fashion deliveries are handled. It added: “This showed in the second half of the year, as the investments made enabled a strengthening performance with operating profit before exceptional items up 3.8%.”

The retailer focused on the customer as it looked to build a business which “allows customers to combine convenient online shopping with visiting shops which provide inspiration and experiences.” Customer numbers grew by 2.7% to 12.1m during the year.

It also integrated its online platforms so that customers have the same shopping experience whether they buy from John Lewis by mobile, desktop or app. Online content and photography are created at a dedicated content hub in West London.

Internationally the retailer expanded its physical and online international footprint with 10 shop-in-shops opening in Australia, Malaysia, Ireland and Holland. Deliveries are now made online to 39 countries, up from 32 a year ago.

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