John Lewis has been blasted by third-party brands for the ‘ridiculous’ fees it charges to stock their products.

John Lewis has enlisted Alix Partners to renegotiate supplier contracts, under which brands pay up to 50% of every sale in commissions and fees.

The chief executive of one fashion retailer told The Times that he was “flabbergasted” that John Lewis recently tried to increase its already “ridiculous” fees, which he said were already the most expensive in the market.

“To do that after the year we’ve had was very disappointing. We are seriously looking at pulling out,” he said. 

Fashion brand Seasalt recently ended its brand partnership with John Lewis for “strategic reasons” and said it would instead focus on its existing partnerships with Marks & Spencer and Next, as well as sales through its own website.

Two other unnamed fashion brands have also negotiated discounts on the rates they pay to John Lewis. 

Next charges a 38% commission for sales on its website, while M&S charges a similar rate.

John Lewis offers its brand partners physical presence in its stores as well as online access, but the surge in online shopping during the pandemic, a shift that John Lewis itself has said will be a permanent one, makes its fees harder to swallow for some brand partners. 

John Lewis has recently added 100 new brands to its website which will sell directly to consumers.

John Lewis said “We build trusting and fair relationships that benefit John Lewis and our suppliers. In the past six months, we’ve introduced 90 new fashion brands, which demonstrates that we are an attractive partner to our suppliers.”