John Lewis coming to a shop near you

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Online deliveries aren't much use if you're not at home to sign for them. But John Lewis has come up with a new trick: their customers will soon be able to pick up purchases from a local post office or - possibly - a nearby store.

The idea would considerably boost their national coverage. Will it work?


Local moves

It's difficult to see why it wouldn't, with the right partners. John Lewis already has a Click-and-Collect system up and running nationwide through Waitrose. And John Lewis online sales are climbing rapidly, currently sales are growing at around 40%.

"The days for needing 200 shops to cover the UK are clearly history." said John Lewis managing director Andy Street at a recent conference organised by the British Retail Consortium. "It's all about clicks and bricks together."

It's a tack increasingly being attempted by other stores. Several big-name companies - Argos is a good example - are attempting to cut their number of physical bricks-and-mortar stores to focus instead with online sales.

Small town advantage

High street stores suck up considerable running costs: rent, heat, light, business taxes. And as mobile devices proliferate and more consumers become more dependent on online services, the web trend will continue.

John Lewis will be taking precautions about what type of shops it seeks to partner with. Your average inner city newsagent might struggle for space, plus all the obvious concerns on the trust front, personal and corporate.

So far John Lewis is keeping tight-lipped on detail. Either way, the move should be a boon for many consumers, especially for those who live in smaller towns without access to a John Lewis store, widening the highly successful retailer's grip on the (online) high street further.