High street retail giant, John Lewis has warned over further “painful” store closures due to the pandemic. The group swung to a loss of £517m for the year to January, against profits of £146m the previous year.
Despite the losses being considerable, Melissa Minkow, Retail Industry Lead at digital consultancy CI&T, said John Lewis has made a “highly strategic and intelligent move.”
Minkow has considered how John Lewis remains a cornerstone retailer for British shoppers, and how its increased focus on digital reflects a business model more resonant with how consumers are shopping.
Minkow said, “Although the losses suffered by John Lewis shouldn’t be taken lightly, the brand continues to remain a cornerstone retailer in British shoppers’ minds.
“Despite waning department store relevance, its online platform has sustained its go-to reputation.
“It is highly strategic and intelligent of John Lewis to shift focus towards digital innovation, as we know that the narrative behind the retailers that have struggled over the last few years centres around a lack of investment in digital.
“In this specific case, I’d urge observers to think critically about whether or not all brick-and-mortar store closures are a sign of failure.
“For John Lewis, this could very well be the beginning of a business model more reflective of the times and resonant with how consumers are shopping.”