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John Lewis seeks exclusives to bolster growth

John Lewis has urged suppliers to make it their first port of call with new products as it looks to meet its ambitious growth targets.

The department store chain set out its stall to suppliers at a conference last month, highlighting product investment as a key priority alongside technology and stores. The message underpins managing director Andy Street’s target to double sales growth in fashion, as unveiled at its annual results in March.

Head of womenswear Jo Hooper told Drapers this tactic relied on a reciprocal relationship.

“We know there’s a lot to play for in this sector but in a tough consumer market we have to identify where customers will spend, and for us that’s in innovation,” she said.

“We want John Lewis to be the first port of call when suppliers have new products, whether that means we work with them to be first to market or through products that are exclusive to us.”

Hooper said John Lewis was keen to build long-term “mutually beneficial” relationships with  suppliers, who could benefit from its consumer insights.

She highlighted successes such as Somerset by Alice Temperley – whose debut autumn 12 collection became the retailer’s fastest-selling brand ever – as an example of the type of exclusive partnerships it was keen to develop.

Brands such as Paul & Joe Sister and curated selections from labels such as Muubaa and Pyrus were cited as examples of how John Lewis is looking to give “access to a more eclectic range”.

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