What mid-market retailers can learn from John Lewis

WGSN Instock

John Lewis taps into the fashion market and the announced opening of the new 230,000-sq ft-store in Westfield, White City, is a showcase of that. On top of a more fashion-led range, the new store includes an experiential proposition with cookery classes.

In the latest financial results, released at the beginning of the month, fashion sales were up 3.2%, boosted by a particularly strong performance in womenswear, up 5.0%, especially buoyed by own brand womenswear, up 14.9%.

Our proprietary retail data product, Instock, confirms that John Lewis is dialing up its fashion proposition and it’s doing it with own brands. New-in volumes of own brands have grown, in particular AND/OR, the retailer’s first in-house denim lifestyle brand, up 37.9% YOY, and Modern Rarity whose new-ins quadrupled.

On the other hand, overall, the retailer’s womenswear new-ins have declined by 18.9% YOY.

This is unsurprising as, like other retailers in the struggling mid-market segment, John Lewis has adopted the strategy of rationalising assortments to favour range curation over pure volume. This strategy enables them to avoid competing with other mid-market retailers on price matching and create a distinct fashion proposition allowing quick reaction to fashion trends and a tighter control over margins.

Based on our Barometer survey, interviewing more than 75,000 womenswear and menswear consumers yearly in the UK, without a doubt, and as expected, the retailer is perceived as ‘quality, ‘classic, ‘trusted’, ‘professional’ and ‘premium by UK consumers. It will take some time to develop brand associations that makes them a fashion destination but the launch of the Westfield flagship store is definitely a good starting point.

Barometer is WGSN’s daily retail consumer intelligence tool across menswear and womenswear.

Every day, we interview 260 consumers on 300 fashion retailers across 150+ measures, allowing you to fully understand where you’re winning and failing in the eyes of your consumer. Get in touch to know more

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