Dear Mr Street,
As loyal customers of John Lewis and campaigners for British manufacturing we were heartened to read in the press during the Summer of 2013 of your commitment to supporting the British manufacturing sector. At that time you mentioned that you intended to ‘increase sales of UK products by at least 15% by 2015 to £550m, amounting to more than 12% of annual revenues’. It was also noted that of the 350,000 products on sale across John Lewis in 2013 only 10,500 were made in Britain.
Two years have now passed since you made this promise and, while we have admittedly seen some increase in the amount of British made goods stocked in store, we thought it would be interested to assess if your original targets have been met.
We would be grateful of you could give us some hard data on the number of items John Lewis now stock that are available in store and online that are made in Britain and what percentage of John Lewis’ annual revenue sales were as a result of items made in the UK over the last 12 months?
In the last 2 years we have seen similar commitments being made by large retailers such as Topman, Debenhams and Marks & Spencers. In the case of these 3 examples the resultant action, to back up the press coverage achieved by their announcements, ultimately failed to materialise in any significant form. It is indeed clear to us that John Lewis has made a far greater effort than the above to increase their British made stock since 2013 but we would like to see if you managed to meet the targets you set yourself.
If you fell short of your promises then perhaps you could offer an explanation as to why this might have happened and what your ongoing commitments to supporting British manufacturers are moving forward? If you met, or indeed exceeded, your commitments then you should be duly commended and the public made aware of your achievements.
We hope to hear from you shortly.
James, Emily & Lucan Bradshaw
We will keep our readers informed of any response we get!