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John Lewis to make European debut in the Netherlands

John Lewis is to open seven shop-in-shops in Dutch department store chain de Bijenkorf over the next two years, making its debut in continental Europe.

The first three will open in de Bijenkorf’s flagship stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague by April Next year, and the rest will follow by 2017.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said the decision to open in the Netherlands was made after its shop-in-shops in South Korea, Singapore and the Philippines, opened over the past two years, proved a success.

Speaking at an event for journalists in London last night, Street also predicted that this year’s Black Friday would be bigger than 2014, despite warning in January of the negative impact the discounting day could have on retailers’ profitability.

“Black Friday has turned into our biggest week by a mile and it will be bigger again this year,” he said.

He put this down to John Lewis’s ‘never knowingly undersold’ price-matching promise: “We will not blink over that commitment.”

John Lewis has recruited 2,000 extra staff in distribution and invested “tens of millions” in its systems to ensure deliveries are fulfilled.

Commenting on Asda’s decision not to participate in this year’s Black Friday, he said: “It won’t change what’s going to happen this year.”

He went on to explain that retailers – particularly fashion retailers – will already have firm plans in place for promotional activity in the run-up to Christmas, while suppliers have made products for Black Friday.

But he added: “Looking further ahead to future years, it might just help do exactly what I tried to do in January, which is say ‘hang on, let’s think about this’.”

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