John Lewis will extend its ecommerce lead in 2014 as the UK online department store market frontrunner, according to Verdict’s Department Store Retailing in the UK report. Its multichannel proposition has propelled growth, and with Verdict forecasting the online channel to grow by 71.9% in the five years to 2019, it is in a prime position to capitalise on consumers’ growing spend.
Verdict forecasts the online department store channel to grow by 240.7% in the five years to 2019, driven by players such as John Lewis and House of Fraser setting the standard for convenience, fast delivery and website functionality. John Lewis’s investment in the channel has allowed it to become market leader and win Verdict’s Customer Satisfaction Awards in 2014 for overall online retailer – beating the likes of Next and Amazon. With gross online sales up £184m to £1.1bn in the year to 25 January 2014, the online channel continues to form an intrinsic part of its operations, accounting for 28.1% of its sales.
John Lewis’s sales growth and market share supremacy are boosted by its strong online electricals, homewares and furniture propositions, targeting a wider customer base and enabling it to be a destination across many product categories – while its rivals place more focus on clothing, limiting their reach. However, it will remain a challenge for the retailer to grow further and widen the gap from the likes of M&S and Debenhams, as they continue to invest in their propositions and are now able to learn from John Lewis and emulate its successful online elements – which will place pressure on the department store in years to come.