John Lewis has revealed further details of the changes it is introducing to its buying structure from this week, as it gears up to increase its own label offer.
Drapers revealed in April that fashion buying director Ed Connolly was reshaping his buying teams with the appointment of Jo Bennett as head of buying for womenswear, Caroline Bettis as head of buying for kidswear, nursery and haberdashery and Camilla Rowe as head of buying for the new category women’s accessories.
As part of these changes, which came into effect on June 1, Connolly has created a new buying group called beauty, wellbeing and leisure, headed by Matt Leeser. This will for the first time incorporate sportswear, which was previously part of the men’s category.
Connolly told Drapers the restructure was aimed at “telling one overall story about how we can help customers to improve their lifestyles” and making the department store retailer a health and beauty destination. “We think it’s a wide open space for John Lewis,” he added.
Leeser was previously head of buying for technology at the retailer and his move is expected to help grow its wearable technology business.
Lingerie has also been recategorised out of womenswear and will now sit under the new women’s accessories buying group. The intention is to simplify the focus for womenswear, which will become a key priority for John Lewis.
Following these changes, Connolly said he plans to double the mix of own label within womenswear in the next five years. This is likely to include new own brands, with more details to be revealed later this summer. He declined to reveal the current percentage it represents.
Connolly said: “The women’s proposition overall is a major strategic priority for us but within that you’ve got to consider beauty, wellbeing and accessories as well. If you look at the changes we’ve made it’s really across those three pieces of the women’s puzzle that we’re looking to invest in.
“This is where we see the major growth axis over the next five years and that’s why we’re investing into those ones now.”