Managing Director, John Lewis
John Lewis is the only high street department store to make it into this year’s Power 100, but it did not escape the wider downturn unscathed.
Operating profit fell 55.5% to £114.7 in the year to 26 January, as a result of weaker home sales, lower gross margin and IT costs. Gross sales were up 0.7% year on year to £4.9bn, but like-for-like sales edged down 1.4%.
However, John Lewis ploughed ahead with investment in its product and experiential approach to retail. Managing director Paula Nickolds has focused on increasing own-brand product, and the relaunch of its womenswear delivered sales growth of 12.9%.
In September Nickolds and her team unveiled a revamped menswear offer, including a new in-house brand and an updated Kin range for autumn 19.
Meanwhile, John Lewis is trialling eight new sustainability practices in its Oxford store to inspire a “reduce, re-use and return” mindset among customers, including the removal of 5p plastic carrier bags.
In November, the retailer opened its most experiential store yet with sister brand Waitrose, in its Southampton shop, featuring a team of experts in cookery, gardening, beauty and gadgets.
Next year Nickolds takes on a new role as part of a restructuring to operate John Lewis and Waitrose as a single business. She will become executive director of brand across the partnership.
News about Paula Nickolds