John Lewis is investing in extra freight, including extra ships, this year to ensure it receives goods in time for Christmas. It comes as retailers’ supply chains continue to face disruption from a number of factors.
“As we look ahead, there is significant uncertainty,” said chairman Sharon White in the company’s half-year results this week. “Like the whole of retail, we are managing global supply chain challenges and labour shortages. We are seeing inflationary pressures, which we expect to persist.”
“We are taking a raft of measures to mitigate these risks and deliver Christmas for our customers. These include a successful campaign to recruit drivers, offering competitive salaries and benefits, recruiting 7,000 temporary seasonal roles and booking additional freight to make sure John Lewis Christmas products arrive on time.”
Also in its results, White said that sales growth at Waitrose was driven by online growth as the retailer increased capacity in its stores and delivery fleet and through a new fulfilment centre in Greenford, West London, to meet rising demand.
The Waitrose partnership with Deliveroo also expanded during the period, up from 40 to 150 shops with a potential reach of up to 13m customers. The company’s chairman Sharon White said that the partnership is already generating sales of almost £1m a week and attracting younger customers. All general merchandise sold in Waitrose will be sourced by John Lewis in time for Christmas.
The Partnership is also looking to cut waste in its operations, as well as helping customers to do the same. From 27 September, the sale of 10p bags for life in Waitrose will cease and all online grocery deliveries will be bagless.
Meanwhile Waitrose ‘Unpacked’ – which offers customers refillable solutions to help cut out plastics – has been expanded with 13 new lines and the company is also extending its furniture rental service.