Retailer confident it can conquer US, Europe and Australia with ‘world class’ home product offer.
John Lewis is to deliver to shoppers in the US later this year as part of its plans to ramp up multichannel.
John Lewis managing director Andy Street said the department store’s website would be opened up to 12 European countries in June, then the US, Australia and New Zealand in August.
Street said the John Lewis home offer was “world class” and added: “We’re confident it beats what customers have there at the moment.”
Street said international deliveries would use a courier company rather than recruiting staff. John Lewis is opening a sourcing office in Delhi in India, however, where it is hiring about 20 staff - its first international partners.
The initiative comes as the John Lewis Partnership reported profit before partnership bonus and tax up 20% to £367.9m for the year to January 29. Sales rose 10.6% to £8.21bn.
John Lewis posted operating profit ahead 22.2% to £201.1m, and like-for-likes up 10%. Waitrose reported operating profit up 3% to £274.9m, and like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, increased 4%. Johnlewis.com sales rose 37.9% to £538.2m, and Waitrose online sales soared 45%.
Chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “Multichannel is an important driver of the business - I cannot overemphasise its importance”.
John Lewis and Waitrose will also collaborate further on multichannel. They already offer click-and-collect via each others’ stores and the new Waitrose.com site - which launched on Wednesday - stocks John Lewis home products.
The launch of Waitrose.com marks the grocer’s push into online deliveries within the M25, taking it head-to-head with Ocado. Managing director Mark Price said he expected online sales to “turbocharge”.
By the end of March, Waitrose will be able to service 400 postcodes within the M25, and the rest by the end of the year. He said the best performing stores for online deliveries at the moment carry out 550 deliveries a week, and “we see capacity to at least double that”.
The consumer mood is as if “the country is waiting for its exam results”, said John Lewis Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield. He said February and March were always “fickle” months in the retail calendar but it was “more uncertain than usual”. He added that post-Easter after the Government unveils its budget “we see a return to slow growth in consumer expenditure”.