John Lewis to enter Singapore
Mar 11, 2015
Founded in 1864, John Lewis has never opened its own stores beyond England, Scotland and Wales. But in 2012 it entered into a partnership with South Korea’s Shinsegae Department Store Co, selling linen and homewares in seven stores.
The Singapore presence will be via concessions in two Robinsons department stores, scheduled to open in July, which will primarily sell homewares.
CEO Andy Street says he expects to confirm deals to open in a further five foreign markets in 2015.
“We have been very successful in Korea. We are really pleased and surprised that, in a market where the John Lewis brand isn’t really known, it has cut through.”
Further expansion of the John Lewis brand abroad will for now be restricted to exclusive licensing arrangements, similar to those with Robinsons and Shinsegae.
The company recently hosted executives of international department stores to an exhibition of its products in London, courting distribution partnerships.
Street told The Guardian newspaper its overseas push was an attempt to “seed” the John Lewis brand abroad for the long term.
“Anybody taking their eye off the domestic ball at the moment would really regret it. We are not opening shops overseas and diverting management time. This is the icing on the cake,” he said.
“Our fundamental strategy is developing bricks and clicks in the UK. We have just got to put a chip or two down on the table with a view on how the world is going to be in 10 years’ time,” he said.