Eight things we learnt from Dame Sharon’s memo

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - Si­mon Foy

1. Empty stores to be­come hous­ing: with­out doubt the most strik­ing as­pect of the memo was the idea to turn va­cant depart­ment stores into mixed-use af­ford­able hous­ing, with John Lewis as land­lord. As the part­ner­ship eyes cuts to its shop estate, Dame Sharon said it wants to “put ex­cess space to good so­cial use”.

2. Two ar­eas Dame Sharon flagged for growth were the com­pany’s hor­ti­cul­ture and financial ser­vices di­vi­sions. John Lewis al­ready runs the Leck­ford Estate in Hamp­shire, which has a farm shop and plant nurs­ery.

3. John Lewis ex­pects on­line sales to ac­count for 60pc of rev­enues post-Covid. Stores will “sup­port on­line” and fo­cus on show­cas­ing goods avail­able on the web.

4. The part­ner­ship still plans to push ahead with the re­view of its long-stand­ing price pledge, “Never Know­ingly Un­der­sold”.

5. John Lewis will still stay true to its “tra­di­tional strengths” with a new fo­cus on home and nurs­ery prod­ucts.

6. With a re­newed fo­cus on the en­vi­ron­ment, Dame Sharon said clearer in­for­ma­tion about the ori­gins of prod­ucts and sup­ply chains will be given to help cus­tomers shop “sus­tain­ably”.

7. John Lewis prod­ucts will be made avail­able in Waitrose stores, in­clud­ing home­ware. John Lewis is also con­sid­er­ing “cre­at­ing a mar­ket-lead­ing chan­nel for rental of our prod­ucts, or build­ing a mar­ket­place to sell ‘used’ prod­ucts”.

8. New Waitrose stores will be opened where there is strong de­mand.

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