Inside John Lewis Have you seen BB2 Inside John Lewis In this documentary BBC goes behind the scenes of John Lewis one of Britain's biggest and best known department stores as it tackles changing tastes of consumers deals with existing problems and tougher competition and the its worst recession in 80 years John Lewis is a chain of high end department stores operating throughout the United Kingdom The first John Lewis store was opened in 1864 in Oxford Street London It now has 49 stores throughout UK and its first concession opened in Australia in November 2016 But the documentary does not focus on John Lewis expansion The documentary addresses how the recession in the UK by 2009 impacted the company's business The company suffered from a major financial loss as its profits dropped over 50 at the time The recession forced the company which was booming until then to come up with solutions and redundancies to survive Andy Street the managing director of the John Lewis and his team had an inkling that extreme gloom was on its way
So the company got a business coach in to talk to them about leadership in a downturn They used the Six Thinking Hats technique to come up with creative and unique ideas The Six Thinking Hats is a method for group discussion and individual thinking involving six colored hats The tool uses parallel idea thinking to get the group to a plan detailed thinking processes and in doing so to think together more effectively It also allows to analyze the negative aspects of those ideas As a result instead of strategically retrenching the obvious option John Lewis decided that the best form of defense was attack and launched a range of new initiatives Andy Street brought Jo Hooper who had worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years and is known for the Debenhams fashion department restructure Subsequently over that year the company opened its first John Lewis at Home s homewares It also increased its online business and radically overhauled its fashion offer and launched a low price value range to help cash strapped shoppers These last initiatives had the aim to get close to younger consumers This period was in my opinion was the biggest challenge the company had ever faced
As if the company image changed too quickly or too drastically there was a really good chance that the company could lose its core and loyal customer and sales would drop very quickly instead of going up Personally John Lewis s took a very big risk with this strategy The John Lewis brand is known for a strong product range and on excellent service and guarantee of quality value and style that differentiates them from its competition This normally is associated with high prices which is the opposite of what younger customer wants On top of that the competition is huge on that market segment with giants like Primark dominating I feel like they could have focused more on their online platform adjusting their pricing point without the risk of losing as much But the risk had a purpose Has the value range helped Yes it has Mr Street said It is less than 1pc of sales But what it has done is put a price anchor on our product ranges The following campaign was extremely successful and the redeveloped clothing line had positive outcomes So the company ability to come up with quick solutions and recognizing the problems the business was facing showed to be one of the company's strengths Another strength might have been its slightly odd socialist structure John Lewis Partnership is owned by its employees who share out a bonus pot every year All decisions are made by the partners and on the partner s behalf
This structure of the Partnership that might be a hindrance to growth in the good times appears to have galvanized employees in the bad times since staff turnover the percentage of staff who leave every year was 12pc compared with a retail average of 40 pc The opening of a new store in Cardiff to increase sales was another major decision The recruitment process was very well planned emphasizing on teamwork and creativity The training process of the partners was also very interesting To cut costs and keep the high standard of customer service every one of the floor staff had to have knowledge on the various sections of the store Overall I believe the changes implemented to redevelop the business were done correctly but the amount of risk taken was too big as results good have gone the opposite direction very easily with the tougher consumer retail competition due to tax rises and political uncertainty But the company was successful in turning the company around and its profits went up I only believe there should have been more initiatives regarding partners training to strengthen the relationship between the company and its employees and customers services like the implementation of click and collect service they later introduced In conclusion the documentary made me realize that bold and risky decisions are sometimes necessary that thinking out of the closet and comfort zone generates new ideas but a well crafted plan is essential to implement it the right way and good results
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