Department store exec talks up expansion plans

John Lewis reaches for bigger slice of tech retail

Having presented itself as the straight-talking choice for consumer technology buying, department store John Lewis is gearing up to become a much larger player in the sector, taking on larger specialists PC World and Comet with new Home stores and an ambitious online operation.

The firm has been a strong performer in TVs for a while, and Ed Connolly, head of buying for consumer electronics, told us that success is being replicated in IT sales.

“I think we should lead the market in all of our electronic industries,” he said. “There’s certainly a lot for us to go at. We’ve got six or seven per cent in TV, that can go a lot further, as our proposition is very strong. This year our IT sales have gone mad. We’ve seen incredible sales, much higher than the wider industry and much higher than we expected. We’ve pretty much doubled our market share to between five and six per cent.”

The gains have spurred John Lewis to increase the pressure on the specialist retail sector, and the firm has aggressive plans for expansion.

“I can’t really think why someone would want to buy something from our competitors,” he added. “We should be replicating our successes all across the board in all of our categories. We don’t have as many shops (as PC World and Comet), but as we roll out our at Home stores we have quite ambitious expansion plans with those. And as more electronic purchases go online, we’re also very well placed to take a market leading position from the online trade.”

Click here to read our full interview with Ed Connolly.

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