International Business: John Lewis unveils $1.3bn recovery plan

Marco Green
October 19, 2020

Britain's John Lewis Partnership will invest £1 billion (€1.1 billion) to expand its online business and improve its stores, and will diversify beyond retail and seek more partnerships as it aims to recover profits, it said on Friday.

Around £100mln will be invested in the retail credit card business to grow it four-fold by offering new products and services like savings and insurance. It also plans to extend its partnership with Deliveroo, which delivers shopping in 30 minutes, to more areas.

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. John Lewis is now a 60 per cent online retailer, it said, and it is aiming for Waitrose to reach the same level by 2025.

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.

Waitrose said it would also aim to help halve customers' household food waste within the next decade.

The partnership has also made a commitment to recruit people from the care system and to pay the voluntary Real Living Wage when it hits profits of over £200 million.

Waitrose said it would spend £1 billion over five years to "accelerate our online business and transform our shops".

John Lewis will retain its "Never Knowingly Undersold" price pledge, though it may be modified next year.

Housing the firm has identified 20 sites it owns that could be used to benefit local communities by providing affordable housing and a stable income for the Partnership.

"We're creating new inspirational services for customers where strong ethical values and peace of mind matter, like reusing and recycling products, personal savings and rented housing. Our plan means the John Lewis Partnership will thrive for the next century, as it has the last", said White.

Waitrose, which has stores in Cirencester, Stroud and Cheltenham, and John Lewis, which has a store in Cheltenham, are focusing on a number of key areas in their plan, including increasing digital and improving sustainability.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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