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John Lewis bids for a larger slice of fashion etail market

Department store business John Lewis will bid to grab more online market share with a relaunch of its internet fashion operation in the autumn.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said the fashion to homewares retailer would transform the current basic fashion offer on its website in response to demand from shoppers.

He said: “The product we have [online] has done very well, and our dedicated online own label Basic Deluxe, which launched last month, has done extremely well. At the moment there’s only a small portion of our in-store fashion offer online, so we want to increase this significantly.”

Sales at John Lewis Direct rose 24.2% to £64.8 million for the year to January 31.

Street also said John Lewis had increased its fashion market share. Total fashion sales for the period were up 4.7% to £928m, with the best performers being men’s casualwear and kidswear.
“Who else in our market is increasing fashion sales by 4.7%?” said Street. “Share is likely to be coming from the likes of Marks & Spencer and Next.”

Street said the introduction of 40 new brands and design improvements to its own brand JL had also boosted clothing and accessories sales. “We’ve got brands like Jigsaw and Whistles and we’re the biggest retailer of Ted Baker in the country. We’re growing in confidence with our fashion,” said Street.

For the 53 weeks to January 31, John Lewis reported a 26.8% fall in operating profits to £146m, although total sales were down just 0.1% to £2.81 billion.

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