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John Lewis integrates online into core business

John Lewis Direct managing director Robin Terrell will leave in the new year ahead of an integration of the department store chain’s online arm into the mainline John Lewis business.

Terrell, who joined John Lewis Direct in April 2008, told Drapers the decision would create a “joined-up customer objective”.

He said: “When it was set up, the fact that John Lewis Direct was a separate business made sense. But it gets to a stage where the business needs to be integrated. We needed to bring the online business into the main business.”

Terrell, who was formerly chief operating officer of lingerie etailer Figleaves for three years and prior to that managing director of etail giant Amazon for four years, said the 240 partners who work at the online arm will be integrated into the main business, leaving a specialist online team of 80.

The team will relocate from the John Lewis Direct offices in Chelsea, west London – the former Peter Jones store service building – to the department store’s head office in London’s Victoria.

No redundancies have been made and staff in functions such as finance and HR will be subsumed into the main John Lewis functions.

John Lewis has brought in DIY chain B&Q’s director of multichannel Jonathon Brown as head of online selling, a new position created to head up the specialist team. Brown will have sales accountability for the online division.

Last week, John Lewis reported a 35% increase in sales at John Lewis Direct.

Last month, Terrell revealed that plans to generate £8.5m of additional sales from John Lewis’s revamped fashion site in the half to the end of January were set to be achieved by early December.

Terrell added that womenswear sales are currently three times ahead of last year.

A spokeswoman for John Lewis said: “Our online operation is the fastest-growing part of the John Lewis division and delivering our multichannel strategy is our number one business priority.”

Terrell added that “no final decision” has been taken about his next move but that he is keen to work
on building multichannel strategies for retailers.

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