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talking shop


Monday February 4 2019 THE NATIONAL MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM, BIRMINGHAM


‘This was a transformative year’


John Lewis & Partners trading director Simon Coble looks back at ‘one of the most challenging years retail has faced’


But unlike some of our competitors, we are a business determined to play the long game, with a unique ownership model that provides a strong foundation and an ability to think long term. “This year was all about identity. What we bought


and why we bought it took on a new meaning - it was how we made a statement about who we are. And the idea of identity also became central to John Lewis’ long-term plans - feeding into a unique opportunity to build a business that is even more differentiated and relevant. “The decision to add ‘& Partners’ to our name is much more than a change of logo. It’s about celebrating a truth that has always been part of our brand: that the people who work for this business are more than employees - we’re owners. And that’s why we are continuing to put people at the heart of our business. “This new identity filters down into everything we


J


ohn Lewis & Partners has just released the annual edition of its Retail Report. Entitled ‘How We Shop Live and Look’,


the review is based on the department store group’s sales data from August 2017 to September 2018. Introducing the report, trading director Simon


Coble said: “Uncertainty dominated this year, as the high street faced not only difficult trading conditions but low consumer confidence. “In the most promotional market for almost a


decade, distressed retailers discounted more than ever and questions surrounding Brexit affected the value of sterling. The business rates debate hit the headlines and the housing market was subdued as Britons put a halt on moving house. “John Lewis & Partners wasn’t immune from these challenges and our half-year results reflected the impact of holding true to our ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ price promise through the good times and the bad. “This was a transformative year and the tough


retail landscape forced us to take stock and reflect on who we are as a brand and what we stand for.


do – from providing personal and personalised service, to offering unique products which allow customers to embrace their own individuality whilst staying true to who they are and what they stand for. Identity for John Lewis & Partners is all about celebrating what makes us different and helping shoppers celebrate everything that makes them unique.” So what shaped the way John Lewis customers shopped in 2018? “It‘s fascinating to see what trends our customers have fallen in and out of love with this year, and how big events like the World Cup and the royal wedding have such a significant impact on what we buy,” Simon said. The retailer has analysed extensive internal data


to get an insight into which products soared in popularity and the themes which dominated the year.


Going up The list of customers’ top favourite products in 2018 (with comments from John Lewis) is:


Robotic lawnmowers proved popular. Pictured is the Robomow RX12U


36 | housewareslive.net


• Sustainable water bottle: ‘Eco-friendly, sleek and beautifully designed, the S’well drinks bottle was a must-have buy. Water bottles overall were up 37% and the number of brands we stock are up 85%.’ • Robotic lawnmower: ‘Gardens got the tech treatment with robotic lawn mowers proving popular, up 75%.’ • White trainer: ‘As we opt for comfort and style, trainers account for 15% of our shoe assortment. Men’s white trainer sales were up 53%.’ • Thong: ‘After years of steady decline, the thong is back, with sales up 72%.’ • Vegan beauty products: ‘Veganism spilled across from food to beauty this year. One vegan rosehip oil product was up 467%.’ • Leopard print dress: ‘Leopard print roared its way


HousewaresLive.net


Emblem of the year: the rainbow. Pictured is John Lewis & Partners Rainbow Cloud and Rainbow Bauble


into our wardrobes, seen on everything from boots and scarves to dresses.’ • Colour of the year: ‘Generation Z Yellow lifted our spirits and was seen everywhere, from Amal Clooney at the royal wedding to the Duchess of Cambridge at Wimbledon. Sales of yellow dresses were up 401%.’ • Emblem of the year: Whether it was celebrating diversity or making a fashion statement, the rainbow was a popular trend and an instant mood booster. The Rachel Ellen rainbow range [of greetings card and stationery designs] was up 38%.’


Going down John Lewis said seven products fell out of favour in 2018:


• Small TV: ‘It was all about big screens this year as TVs and phone screens were supersized. In fact, TV screens have nearly doubled in size, from 36in in 2010 to the most popular 70in-plus screen today.’ • Alarm clock: ‘As people opt to use their smartphones, sales of alarm clocks were down 16% - and we have reduced our alarm clock range by 30%.’ • Desktop computer: ‘As consumers shop on-the-go using their smartphones, we saw a decrease in sales of desktop computers, down 15%.’ • DVD player: ‘With the rise in popularity of online streaming services, the DVD player has become old technology, down 40%.’ • Door knocker: ‘Traditional


twitter.com/Housewaresnews


The S’well drinking bottle was a must- have buy


October/November 2018


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