By shaun lowthorpe Business editor
Saturday, February 23, 2013
John Lewis customers will be able to return their online shopping at 67 convenience stores, newsgents and petrol stations across Norfolk as part of a new nationwide venture - which could bring a boost to smaller retailers.
The retailer has struck a deal with delivery and returns business CollectPlus, which means shoppers will be able to take back clothes, shoes and other fashion items to convenience stores and newsagents for free, and also at times outside of regular store opening hours.
The scheme is part of a nationwide programme unveiled yesterday involving a network of 5,000 local shops and petrol stations.
The hope is it will also bring extra trade to the smaller stores with CollectPlus estimating that on average customers using the service generate an extra £1,300 to stores by buying other goods while there instead of heading to the town centre.
John Lewis, which has a flagship store in Norwich, will also trial a £3 click and collect service from the autumn at shops and petrol stations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the South-West of England.
CollectPlus, which was set up as a joint venture between delivery company Yodel and PayPoint in 2009, already works with big retail names including Amazon, House of Fraser, Littlewoods, Very.co.uk and ASOS.
John Lewis has agreed the deal after the success of collection points in 234 department stores and Waitrose supermarkets.
Karen Dracou, head of omnichannel development at John Lewis, said: “Orders using Click & Collect have nearly doubled over the past year, and accounted for an impressive 35pc of online sales over the Christmas period, so we know that customers are looking for ever-more convenient ways of shopping with us.
“By partnering with CollectPlus, we can extend our existing reach of John Lewis and Waitrose collection points to a wider geographical base, providing an even more convenient way for our customers to shop.”
Neil Ashworth, CEO of CollectPlus, said: “CollectPlus stores allow customers to drop off or return items outside of the traditional trading day. With this in mind, the CollectPlus service will fit perfectly around the busy lives of John Lewis customers, making it easy for customers to fit collecting and returning purchases into the rest of their day.
Area with stores operating the new service