The British chain of department stores John Lewis will be investing 200 million pound (almost 230 million euro) in overseas expansion. The chain is not interested in opening new locations, but online shops and working with foreign partners is right up their ally.
“No physical stores overseas”
Managing director Andy Street announced that 2013 will be a year full of overseas investments, but without opening physical stores abroad. There will however be new webshops: before the end of the year John Lewis wants to open up separate stores for France and Germany.
After a “very successful try-out” with South-Korean Shinsegae, the group is on the lookout for partnerships with other department stores: “There are future opportunities to partner with other prestigious department stores around the world through that wholesale model”, says Andy Street.
Quarter of sales online
John Lewis, which opened up seven new locations in the past fourteen months, has had a great year: comparable sales grew by 10.5%, while total sales rose by 13.5% to 3.05 billion pound (approximately 3.5 billion euro) and operational profits soared by 37.2% to 216.7 million pound (250 million euro).
Mainly online sales are on the fast track, going up by 41%. At the moment e-commerce amounts to about a quarter of total sales at John Lewis. The strongest growing segment is electronics and technology (+29%), followed by fashion (+9%) and home decoration (+6%).
Andy Street sees an explanation for the positive results in the current crisis: the consumers look for brands they know and trust and they choose for retailers they can rely on for years to come.