John Lewis and Waitrose unveil five-year plan

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 19, 2020

British retailer the John Lewis Partnership will accelerate the expansion of its online business, diversify beyond retail and seek more partnerships as it aims to recover profitability, it said on Friday.

The company said it would continue to emphasise its value for money offerings, grow delivery capacity beyond 250,000 orders per week, launch "inspirational" new services and invest more into virtual services, including a tap on an app. "We'll share our success with our customers, Partners - who own the business - and our communities".

Moreover, the firm announced a number of sustainable food measures, including a commitment for Waitrose to source only from net zero carbon farms in the United Kingdom from 2035 and move to extend its pledge to halve food waste by 2030 to its entire supply chain.

The department stores business will become a 60-70% online retailer by 2025 from 40% before the crisis.

Its online activities grew during the pandemic, with its Waitrose arm rapidly expanding its delivery operations as its partnership with Ocado came to an end.

John Lewis will work to ensure its products will last longer and all product categories will have a "buy back" or "take back" solution by 2025; with all key raw materials in own-brand products sourced from sustainable or recycled sources by the same date. It is aiming to help halve customers' household food waste by 2030. This will be achieved partly by £300m per year cost savings by 2022.

The "Never Knowingly Undersold" price promise remains in place until next year, when the employee-owned business will unveil a new value pledge. But she stressed that today's plan would see the firm "thrive for the next century, as it has the last".

The announcement comes months after it revealed plans to shut eight John Lewis stores with the loss of 1,300 jobs and the closure of four Waitrose stores in a move which hit 124 jobs.

We've seen five years of change in the past five months and Waitrose and John Lewis have responded with great agility.

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