John Lewis names procurement chief, hits back at supplier squeeze story

John Lewis is in the news at the moment for good reasons and bad with the company naming a new procurement chief but also being criticised for squeezing some suppliers.

John Lewis has named a new procurement head

It said that Roger Davies will take up the role of Group Procurement Director this summer. He’s currently Group Head of Procurement at Marks & Spencer, where he has worked for eight years. Before that he worked at British Airways in a variety of leadership roles including property, IT and services procurement.

Meanwhile, the company is reported to have upset fashion suppliers after claims of charges for selling on its website and fees for returned items.

This is Money cited a number of suppliers that didn’t wish to be identified saying it charges £1.50 for each returned item, with amounts potentially adding up given how much merchandise is sent back. It’s believed to apply the charges to high return categories such as clothing, shoes and jewellery.

But it seems that this isn’t an across-the-board fee and while it’s unclear exactly how much of an impact this is making, John Lewis said it negotiates fees individually and that the terms only apply to a small number of concession retailers. 

The retailer is known for its ethical approach and while newspaper headlines about businesses squeezing suppliers are relatively common, they usually relate to privately-owned or listed firms. John Lewis, which is a partnership owned by its employees, is rarely the subject of such stories.

The retailer said it takes its relationship with its suppliers very seriously and works hard to build long-term and sustainable partnerships.

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