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John Lewis extending online shopping to expat communities

14 March 2011 - 11:57 by Graham Miller

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Department retailer John Lewis has announced plans which will see it extend its e-commerce and high street presence into countries which have large numbers of British ex-pats living and working there.

The firm is investing around £233 million in a number of initiatives which will see the number of expats who can carry out safe shopping online using its site, grow substantially in the coming years.

A total of 27 countries will be targeted by John Lewis, including the US, Australia and Singapore and it hopes that it will be able to offer e-commerce services in these areas within five months.

John Lewis is going to cater to expats closer to home in Europe, with everywhere from Ireland to Germany getting the same quality of service as UK customers, who can already enjoy safe shopping online, via the company's popular portal.

John Lewis MD, Andy Street, said that the firm was confident in the expat market, saying that Brits living abroad are generating enough demand for the store to warrant its expansion.

Pre-tax profits announced last week had risen by a fifth year on year, putting the company in a strong position for the coming months and allowing the firm to pay out 18 per cent bonuses to its entire workforce of 76,500 people.

Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Charlie Mayfield, said that while the recent figures showed how strong both John Lewis and Waitrose were in the current market, it is sensible to be cautious about the way things will pan out in 2011, as a result of reduced consumer confidence and government cuts.

Waitrose has seen its own online presence grow, which has allowed it to invest in an updated e-commerce platform to cement its position in the market.