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John Lewis launches new own-brand label

John Lewis will launch its largest own-brand label, called John Lewis & Partners, this autumn, in the retailer’s “most significant fashion investment to date”.

The 800-piece womenswear collection will feature 300 designs – three times more than John Lewis label Modern Rarity, which has 100 designs.

John Lewis & Partners features clean, simple styles in bold, bright colours, alongside tonal neutrals, that shoppers can mix and match. Key pieces include statement outerwear, cashmere jumpers and all-leather bags and footwear. 

Prices will range from £10 for a cotton jersey tank top to £250 for a cashmere coat.

Every season, the collection will be anchored by four tonal stories: for autumn 18 they are cool blues, warm autumnals, fresh greens and rich reds.

In stores the collection will be placed at the heart of the womenswear floor and be segmented by colour. Clothing, footwear and accessories will be merchandised together. 

The new collection launches on 4 September in all John Lewis department stores and on Johnlewis.com. A menswear collection will launch in spring 19. 

Christine Kasoulis, fashion buying director, told Drapers: “It is another step towards the ambition of creating 50% of fashion sales from own brand or exclusive product. It is our most ambitious range yet and the final piece of the jigsaw.”

Jo Bennett, head of buying, womenswear, added: “The John Lewis approach to fashion is characterised by an unshakeable commitment to quality and longevity, as well as a forward-looking perspective. We are passionate about understanding how best to serve our customers with a unique offer that they cannot get anywhere else.

“We know that they want transformative clothes that make them feel like the most confident versions of themselves, and that will reward them with quality and style every day. We also know that style is evolving: today, fashion is a means of feeling relevant, whatever your age. Nothing is off limits.

“John Lewis & Partners womenswear brings a new style philosophy to the high street. The collection does not require you to purchase a whole new outfit, or push you towards a brand new look every season – there are no fashion gimmicks here, or impractical styles that look good on the hanger but fall flat on the body. Each item is designed to slot happily in to an existing wardrobe, whatever your age or background, but also to empower your personal style at the same time.”

To tie in with the launch the womenswear floor at the John Lewis Oxford Street flagship will relaunch in September. The area will have a personal styling studio and 21 new third party brands, five of which are exclusive to John Lewis, including J Crew. A new shoe room, managed by Kurt Geiger, will also launch featuring 2,500 pairs of women’s shoes.

The department store chain will test services including classes, personal styling and a front-of-house concierge in 15 of its shops from September. It will also open further rooftop bars and a pop-up cinema. 

John Lewis managing director Paula Nickolds said: “It is one of the most disruptive periods in our history but it is a time of opportunity. We are well placed to take advantage of that. While others are cutting back now is the time to take advantage, to innovate and differentiate.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • This is a smart move by JL but it won’t be popular with the brands who have supported them to date. Own label displayed amongst premium brands will command a higher price point by comparison and will increase margins.

    Brands will have less space and will struggle to grow. Straining relationships for sure.

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  • Eric Musgrave

    This is a familiar strategy for department stores that are looking for a better margin, but apart from the early days of Designers at Debenhams, has it ever really worked for anyone? Surely consumers more readily buy "big" brands than in-house labels.
    I am confident John Lewis will do an OK job with this extension of its existing own-label offer, but I believe it would do its bottom line much more benefit if it dropped its now-crazy "Never Knowingly Undersold" price-matching with the kamikaze discounting strategies of House of Fraser and Debenhams. If JL moved away from this, surely no one would accuse them of ripping off The Great British Public.

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  • darren hoggett

    If the consumer wants quality, they want a brand. 'Own-Label' may sound good in theory as it offers much better margin, but the reality is often different as it ends up being a failed exercise.

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