I first stepped inside a John Lewis store on a short visit to London in June last year. My husband and I were meeting some London-based high school friends that day and they suggested meeting somewhere near the Olympic Park. What I didn’t know was that Westfield Stratford City, an imposing shopping center in East London, houses a large, multi-storey John Lewis with a great view of the park. And while the Olympic Park was, in itself, a great tourist destination and made for some really memorable pictures with dear friends, my first visit to a real brick-and-mortar John Lewis store was no less as exciting. I only hoped that my next visit to a John Lewis would no longer need a visa and a 15-hour plane ride.
John Lewis is here! SM does have it all for you! (Photo credit: Anthony Cuaycong)
As if my wishes were the stuff of precognition, UK’s John Lewis finally made its way to the country last Thursday, May 21, via the inauguration of the John Lewis Department at SM Home (Level 5) in SM Makati. Officials from both John Lewis and the SM Group, as well as from the British Embassy in Manila, were in attendance for the momentous occasion.
In this picture (from left to right): Ms. Katie Jordan, Head of International Development, John Lewis; Mr. Trevor Lewis, Deputy Head of Mission of British Embassy Manila; Mr. Jorge Mendiola, President, SM Retail: Ms. Pascale Jimenez, VP-Business Development, SM Retail; Ms. Louise Jones, Manager- International Development, John Lewis; and Ms. Asuncion Yap, VP-Operations, SM Retail (Photo credit: Anthony Cuaycong)
Mr. Trevor Lewis of British Embassy Manila in his welcome remarks (Photo credit: Anthony Cuaycong)
Ms. Katie Jordan, Head of International Development of John Lewis, with a brief overview of JL’s notable history (Photo credit: Anthony Cuaycong)
This partnership between two retail giants took more than a year in the making. That SM prides itself in providing Filipinos with affordable yet great quality products aligns it closely to John Lewis’ corporate identity, making this collaboration a dream come true for local consumers.
Aside from the recently opened John Lewis at SM Makati, John Lewis Departments will soon be found in 10 other SM locations- Aura Premier, Megamall, Mall of Asia, North EDSA, and Southmall in Metro Manila, Cebu and Lanang (Davao)- both major provincial hubs, and three Our Home stores. This move to the country follows its successful introduction into the Asian market in 2012 through its partnership with South Korea’s Shinsegae Department stores. To date, seven of these concessions are in operation, selling products from John Lewis’ exclusive furnishing lines. The success of this joint venture has prompted John Lewis’ expansion into other Asian markets, with the Philippines’ SM Retail and Singapore’s Robinsons (to launch in July 2015) as its handpicked partners in these collaborations. It is noteworthy to mention that the Philippines is only the brand’s second international market.
High quality, well-priced bed and bath products- affordable luxury for everyone! (Photo credit: Anthony Cuaycong)
Tasteful home decor and luxurious beddings are hallmarks of this wonderful line. (Photo credit: Anthony Cuaycong)
JL sales personnel will assist customers in choosing products that will fit their home and lifestyle. (Photo credit: Anthony Cuaycong)
Each John Lewis Department of these major SM operations will feature own-brand home products in a 300-1000 square feet dedicated selling and display area. Like South Korea’s shop-in-shop model, the JL-SM partnership focuses on bringing the British lifestyle through bed, bath, tableware, and home accessories. More than that, however, John Lewis brings with it its “Never Knowingly Undersold” policy, a guarantee of service, competitive pricing, and quality which has been the cornerstone of its business since 1925.
The first John Lewis store opened its doors to London in 1864. It was a humble enterprise that grew from a single haberdashery to a 4-billion-pound business. One hundred fifty years later, it continues to grow, innovate, and open new doors to the world. The Philippines welcomes you, John Lewis, with open arms! Mabuhay!