John Lewis’ managing director Paula Nickolds has said the department store will focus on developing customer service while driving efficiencies.

The high street stalwart’s new boss said that the retail sector was facing “a very challenging time” as she outlined her vision for the future of the retailer.

Nickolds said the retailer would bolster its focus on creating a customer experience that is second to none by rolling out booked partner time for shoppers looking for specialist advice across other categories, such as technology or haberdashery.

However, Nickolds conceded that there were more redundancies in the pipeline to accommodate John Lewis’ rapidly changing business, and continued to beat the “fewer partners, better jobs” drum of her predecessor Andy Street.

Nickolds did not reveal an exact date for when these plans might be introduced but said that the department store needed to “move fast” in implementing them.

Another retailer grappling with a rapidly changing industry today was, which unveiled that it expected to make zero profit this year as it ploughed investment into its European markets to fuel long-term growth.

The electricals giant, which is set to report soaring full-year sales, has raised £50m capital through a share placing this morning in order to further drive its expansion efforts.

Elsewhere, DFS unveiled plans to boost its domestic manufacturing post-Brexit and Booker’s sales edged up despite falling tobacco sales.

Quote of the day

“Our UK manufacturing is a great advantage and gives us an edge over the market. We’ve been doing it for 47 years at our five factories here in the UK, and they are making more than they’ve ever made before.”

– DFS chief executive Ian Filby on plans to boost the retailer’s UK manufacturing.

Today in numbers

£629m’s expected UK full-year sales


Booker’s rise in fourth-quarter like for likes

Friday’s agenda

No formal updates are scheduled for tomorrow so keep an eye out for our take on the biggest stories over the last seven days in the latest instalment of The Retail Week.

Grace Bowden, reporter