03 Feb 2014

John Lewis Launching French Website in 2014

More ‘in store’ for online shoppers at John Lewis

John Lewis is going full speed ahead with a marketing move aimed at expanding into Europe.

The company is planning to launch a French website that will see customers pay for goods in euros rather than pounds. The site will mirror the UK version of JohnLewis.com, but with information on its goods and special offers translated into French.

Other plans in the pipeline include opening a bricks and mortar store outside the UK within the next decade.

John Lewis is hoping to build on the excellent results it recorded over the Christmas period – a time when other stores, including rival Debenhams, saw less than impressive returns. Like-for-like sales increased by 6.9% to £734 million in the month leading up to Christmas.

The day after Boxing Day marked the peak for customer interest, with sales of more than £35 million recorded on that day, according to managing director Andy Street.

Overseas business

But the firm’s international expansion plans don’t stop at a French website and foreign outlet. John Lewis is also looking abroad to find wholesale deals on products that can be stocked throughout its stores.

Mr Street told the Telegraph that the firm was taking two ‘baby steps’ towards its international expansion drive.

“JohnLewis.com being available internationally is established and we are going to go again in terms of a French website paying in euros. That has appeared to be the most successful market for us.

“The other thing is that we have had great success with our wholesaling deal in Korea and we are looking now for 10 more countries to do a similar wholesaling deal.”

The department store, part of the John Lewis Partnership which counts Waitrose among its concerns, is not the only retailer in recent months to target an online international audience.

Fashion label Ted Baker is expanding its e-commerce platform by launching a new website focused on European web users. The new online presence is part of a larger plan that will include digital launches in the US and Australia next year. The aim of the move will be to bring together all the Ted Baker sites on to one central platform.

Luxury clothes store Karen Millen also launched its first international website in October of last year. The UK firm has invested in a German-language website as part of a larger strategy to target key markets with translated sites. There are currently four Karen Millen outlets in Germany. The move is aimed at increasing the firm’s German sales, which have more than doubled over the last three years.

Growth plans

Mr Street reports that John Lewis is planning to double in size over the coming years.

The number of John Lewis stores is expected to rise from 40 to 65 by 2023, while annual revenues will grow by £3 billion, to stand at £7 billion.

Mr Street said: “It will still be predominantly a UK brand, let’s be absolutely clear.

“I think we will have moved from taking baby steps to slightly more grown up steps internationally.”

He predicts that by 2020, online sales will make up half of all John Lewis revenues.

Another direction that Mr Street sees the company expanding into is health-related products.

“We are not that far away,” he said.

“If you think about what we do with our beauty retreats, it isn’t far from that to the edge of some of the health-related services. So that’s an interesting area for us.”


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