November opening for Jesmond Waitrose… in Grimsby

Graham Soult

Retail consultant, writer, blogger; helping retailers via and Say hello on Twitter at @soult!

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3 Responses

  1. Peter Nicklin says:

    John Lewis still haven’t corrected it – it’s getting embarrassing.

  2. Peter Nicklin says:

    I have similar experience to Paul. A couple of months ago my wife and daughter dragooned me into buying a new suit for her (my daughter’s) wedding. We first tried John Lewis (Newcastle) where, even though it was obvious that, for us – and especially me, this was a major purchase, the assistant appeared distracted and uninterested. My retail savvy female companions soon lost patience and we went to next-door Fenwicks where we were pampered and charmed into a (by my standards) very snappy suit that perfectly fitted the bill. Dear John Lewis; more staff needed, better trained too and if you want an example of attentive, friendly retail staff, try the checkouts at Asda and Morrisons.

  3. Paul says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all.

    I’ve noticed a significant diminution in the overall quality of experience from both John Lewis and Waitrose over the past two years.

    I really worry that their aggressive expansion plans are a bit too much and that their customer service, training and internal policies and suffering as a result.

    The more they lever themselves to achieve their plans the more they will be in hock to someone. I think they are finding that scaling up in the way they are requires two key things:

    1. An increase in central control, issuing policies to all sites in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This dilutes one key aspect that we all love about JLP, namely their local outlook, flexibility and customer service.

    2. Increased pressure to find cost savings in order to remain competitive. Growth through debt is quicker but more costly. Growth means going into increasingly crowded areas so prices cannot go up, therefore corners (sorry ‘costs’) are cut instead.

    I agree that the map you show here is an amusing faux pas, but when I take into account my recent poor experiences (all of which have been recognised by JLP as being falling short of their own standards) I’m afraid I see it as yet another example of the slow demise of our most loved and historic retailer.

    There is time for them to stop the rot before they get in too deep – I only hope they can.

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