John Lewis has ploughed £500 million into its online operations as it predicts internet sales to overtake its store takings in just four years.
The department store chain has invested in a programme to add hundreds of recruits to its IT department by the end of 2018 as online demand for products continues to soar.
Having seen online sales surge by 13.6 per cent in the week to December 5, compared with the same period last year, John Lewis managing director, Andy Street expects internet sales to overtake store sales in 2019, a year ahead of his original forecast.
Total sales at John Lewis last year hit £4.1 billion.
“This has not blown our assumptions out of the water, but it has moved them forward,” said Street. “It’s very reassuring because it endorses everything we are doing.”
The investment will include the completion of state of the art warehousing and investment into information technology that will improve systems, forward planning, analysis of shoppers and their buying habits, providing what Street calls a ‘seamless journey’ for customers, reports This Is Money.
Street estimates that more than 500 IT professionals would be recruited to work in the company’s head office in London’s Victoria, taking the total employed in IT to more than 2000.