The business, which is renowned for its unbiasedcustomer service, is understood to have allowed selected suppliers to bring in a handful of their own staff to man their departments.
It is thought a small number of staff employed by brands including Coast, Hobbs and Fenn Wright Manson are working on the retailer’s fashion floor, although they are not paid on a commission basis and sell across the entire John Lewis clothing department.
Noel Saunders, managing director of the Oxford Street branch, told Drapers it was an “experiment” that could help to reduce costs.
The trial is a departure from John Lewis’s traditional sales model, whereby it enters into joint ventures with branded suppliers and services the departments itself, rather than operating standard concession agreements, which are usually staffed by the retailer.
John Lewis said: “To our knowledge there are no non-partners selling brands in the fashion concessions. Brands are involved in visual merchandising and they help to train our partners. Specialist non-partners are also used in beauty and, on occasions, in sportswear.”
John Lewis has appointed Adrian Edwards as head of buying for menswear and sports. He was previously divisional kidswear manager at TK Maxx.