Retailer readies new format store rollout, with increased emphasis on technology and IT products

John Lewis ramps up IT operation

John Lewis is preparing to boost its presence in the PC and technology sector with the launch of up to 30 new stores in the UK, and says its commitment to service will give it an edge over more established market rivals.

The sites will be smaller than its large-scale department stores, and have an increased focus on IT products. The first will open in Poole this October, with up to 30 scheduled to follow.

"Best Buy – as well as the likes of DSGi and Comet – are healthy competition and we’re not scared of that. Because of our proposition, we’re confident that we’re giving customers what they’re asking for, and if other people come and go in the marketplace, then that’s fine," said the project manager for the new stores Karen Matthew.

"We feel that customers do, and will continue to, understand the proposition that we’re offering, and that’s why they keep coming to us. IT and consumer electronics are very important to us. We’re very competitive – just as everybody else is – and we know that our proposition holds up very well compared to our competitors. So yes, I do feel that people like Currys and Comet should see us as healthy competition, as we do them."

The firm has always positioned itself as a jargon free zone, and claims to have attracted a less tech savvy customer which can be intimidated by other computer stores.

"I think it’s fair to say that our service proposition and reputation does lend itself to those customers who perhaps aren’t as technologically minded as others," continued Matthew.

"From sales in our full line department stores, we know that we really do give customers the confidence to come to us, because they know that they will get objective advice. They know that they won’t be sold something that is not actually going to perform the tasks that they want."

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