John Lewis boss Pippa Wicks believes the retailer can wrestle sales from high street rivals Marks & Spencer and Next through the launch of its new entry-level brand Anyday.
Wicks predicts the new label could have the same impact at John Lewis as Essential Waitrose – the grocer’s value range, now worth more than £1bn in annual sales – has had at its Partnership stablemate.
John Lewis lifted the lid on the new Anyday brand on Friday, which will be sold in stores and online from today.
The retailer said the range, which consists of 2,400 products across homewares, technology, baby care and baby clothing, is its “most affordable” ever, with average prices 20% lower than its existing own-brand lines.
Wicks, who took charge of John Lewis last summer, admits the business is “perceived as too expensive” by consumers, but insists the Anyday range will help the retailer address that problem among existing and prospective customers.
“We’re hoping to get people who might have popped into M&S, Next, Ikea or Dunelm for some of those products to reconsider us”
Pippa Wicks, John Lewis
“Coming out of the pandemic, we know that people are going to be more careful with how they spend their money. We want to widen our appeal, and I and the team felt our entry price points were too high,” Wicks explains.
“We wanted a brand that would go across all of our categories and to be used across products that you will buy every day.
“There is no more perfect a time to launch it than when we are coming out of lockdown – it’s new, it provides some theatre, it’s great value for money and it’s the great quality that you would expect from us.”
Wicks adds: “We’re expecting it to appeal to our existing customer – we know it does; we’ve tested it with them and they loved it. But we are probably expecting a slightly younger customer, in their 30s at the early-family stage, maybe somebody who has only shopped online but wants to pop into store a bit more.
“We’re hoping to get people who might have popped into M&S, Next, Ikea or Dunelm for some of those products to reconsider us.
“Some people split their shopping – if they are buying for a kid going off to uni, they will buy somewhere else – but it would be nice if they could shop that product with us as well.”
John Lewis has launched the Anyday range in stores today to coincide with the reopening of ‘non-essential’ retail, but a curated selection of products will also be stocked in Waitrose stores in the coming months.
Wicks hopes the department store chain can replicate the success that the grocer has had during the past decade with its Essential Waitrose range.
Since launching in 2009, at the start of the last global financial downturn, the private label has grown to encompass hundreds of products and is now worth more than £1bn in annual sales.
Asked whether Anyday could be as big for John Lewis as Essential Waitrose has become for its sister business, Wicks says: “I think it could. It could be 20% of our sales over time. And it’s not just about winning customers, which I do think it will do; it’s about getting more of the spend of the wallet of our existing customers.
“The perception was that we were not as good value for money as they would like us to be.”
“Anyday is a statement about value for money, but usually it’s more than one thing you need to create that deep impression that you are great quality, great style at unbelievable prices”
Pippa Wicks, John Lewis
Wicks, however, denies that the launch of a new, lower-price range is a precursor to the removal of John Lewis’ ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ promise.
John Lewis chair Dame Sharon White has launched a review of that famous pledge, which matches prices if customers find an item cheaper at any other bricks-and-mortar retailer.
“We’ve said we’re reviewing it and we would update through the course of this year and that’s still our plan,” Wicks says.
“Clearly, Anyday is a statement about value for money, but usually it’s more than one thing you need to create that deep impression that you are great quality, great style at unbelievable prices.”
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