BlogA John Lewis Doom and Gloom Story For The High Street?

A John Lewis Doom and Gloom Story For The High Street?

A John Lewis Doom and Gloom Story For The High Street?

BBC: "John Lewis staff bonus cut again as profits fall"

Another day, another High Street retailer talking doom and gloom. Or is it?

The John Lewis partnership started 150 years ago, (and no, for the millennials out there it wasn't a time with dinosaurs), has paid its staff cash bonuses since 1970. Its overall model is different to that of a standard business. Perks, bonuses and profit sharing have all been 'tacked on' on to staff pay in most companies as a way of making their pay seem more attractive.

John Lewis has built a business on their partnership. They give their staff and managers (partners) a more inclusive style of working and accepting a bonus should the business do well. Whilst there will always be questions surrounding the depth of the partnership and who really makes decisions, the model has worked for many generations and is probably one of the cornerstone reasons that they are still in business and strong on the high street.

They have tried to adapt to new ways of customers buying products by being one of the first to 'really get' online selling and have invested a significant amount of money into their website. They also invest heavily in their Christmas promotions. We know Christmas has started when you see the John Lewis advert. An advert that always tells a story and is great TV in itself. As we speak, they are probably planning this years, hopefully without a monster under the bed, (as this proved to be their first 'dud' in relation to what had gone before). It was an innovation that others now copy. 

Ahead of their game.

What this report does highlight is an increase in technology sales, which is a surprise as technology is seen to be a sector of retail very much under pricing pressure constantly. But perhaps shows that with the right strategy, profit and growth can be made, even in the most crowded of markets.

So on the face of it, people will look at the headline and worry some more about the High Street. I can't dispell that worry because I'm saying it as I see it. But what I also see is a business that is in much better shape than it's rival department stores. I see a different model to those that aren't in the best shape. I see a company that has virtually everyone pulling in the same direction to continue its vision and goals. 

Yes, it's a smaller bonus than previous years, but at a time when the staff at New Look and Toys R Us are facing the dole queue, I'm fairly confident that most will be grateful for where they are right now. 

Could you employ this model in your business? 
What effects would it have? 
How could it make a difference?

BTW: Really like the latest 'buzz phrase' in there: "Soft demand"...right out of a Porn Movie ;-)

News Article: BBC News

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