NEWS: John Lewis closures limit audio visual purchase options

La Finta Nonna

Active Member
I am not sure that those John Lewis workers who have just lost their jobs are going to give a stuff that forum contributors have lost a particular means of searching for new tellies
 

pint

Standard Member
Options were already limited beforehand, as John lewis are no way near as prolific as Currys. if you want a showroom environment to physicaly see the equipment and possibly have it demonstrated the pickings are slim to say the least
 

rfield

Well-known Member
That's a real shame - although I'm also quite relieved that the local Oxford store is staying.

I really don't know why high street stores in the UK have such a hard time surviving though. I mean I realise that they're competing against the internet, but it's not a particular problem in other countries, especially in Asia.

Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, etc - they all have some of the most amazing shopping malls and stores on the planet, and they're always packed full of shoppers.

Personally I suspect it's unfortunately mostly down to customer experience though. Any of the megamalls in Asia are packed with interesting independent stores, loads of stock on display, and helpful staff. UK - we get identikit high street chains, minimal stock on display - and what is out is broken or chained down, and of course the traditional surly staff that you have to run after to get any help!

Perhaps it doesn't help either that much of the UK is owned by a tiny percentage of uber-rich, greedy aristocrats (it's something like 0.6% of the population own over half of rural England) - so they have no interest or need to reduce rents for stores that are struggling.
 

Richard19601

Standard Member
That's a real shame - although I'm also quite relieved that the local Oxford store is staying.

I really don't know why high street stores in the UK have such a hard time surviving though. I mean I realise that they're competing against the internet, but it's not a particular problem in other countries, especially in Asia.

Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, etc - they all have some of the most amazing shopping malls and stores on the planet, and they're always packed full of shoppers.

Personally I suspect it's unfortunately mostly down to customer experience though. Any of the megamalls in Asia are packed with interesting independent stores, loads of stock on display, and helpful staff. UK - we get identikit high street chains, minimal stock on display - and what is out is broken or chained down, and of course the traditional surly staff that you have to run after to get any help!

Perhaps it doesn't help either that much of the UK is owned by a tiny percentage of uber-rich, greedy aristocrats (it's something like 0.6% of the population own over half of rural England) - so they have no interest or need to reduce rents for stores that are struggling.
Could be a combination of all the things you mention ,though I have to say customer service in John Lewis has always been top notch ,whenever I use them (often) I go there for that reason.


Could it also be that UK shoppers have or at least had a tendency to go into physical stores and view the product and get it demonstrated ,then rushed home to see how low they could get it online for, John Lewis some time ago realised this was a zero sum game which is why they abandoned the never knowingly undersold pledge a while back , Physical stores will never compete with online retailers with lower costs and rents ,which at least makes one wonder when the physical stores have been decimated prices on the internet will go up to reflect the competition having gone ,time will tell.
 

rfield

Well-known Member
Could be a combination of all the things you mention ,though I have to say customer service in John Lewis has always been top notch ,whenever I use them (often) I go there for that reason.


Could it also be that UK shoppers have or at least had a tendency to go into physical stores and view the product and get it demonstrated ,then rushed home to see how low they could get it online for, John Lewis some time ago realised this was a zero sum game which is why they abandoned the never knowingly undersold pledge a while back , Physical stores will never compete with online retailers with lower costs and rents ,which at least makes one wonder when the physical stores have been decimated prices on the internet will go up to reflect the competition having gone ,time will tell.
Possibly, but going into stores to see goods isn't unique to the UK.

I think the difference is that stores abroad take that customer window shopping behaviour into account - so they try to present as good an impression as possible in the hope that the customer may buy online, but will still remember the positive experience they had instore and buy accordingly.

If the customer does choose to buy instore though then they reward that behaviour as well - so for example you get your shopping gift wrapped, have your purchase cheerfully carried to the door by the member of staff, and so on.

UK stores like currys are little more than shiny market stalls - there's no customer experience there, so customers prod and poke the things they want to buy, and then go home and buy from the cheapest possible retailer.

Apple stores were probably the closest we had to an actual customer experience in the UK - and it shows, as - sadly to it's detriment - the stores are* now so crowded on a weekend that they've become unpleasant.

*obviously I'm talking about pre/post lockdown!
 

Richard19601

Standard Member
Possibly, but going into stores to see goods isn't unique to the UK.

I think the difference is that stores abroad take that customer window shopping behaviour into account - so they try to present as good an impression as possible in the hope that the customer may buy online, but will still remember the positive experience they had instore and buy accordingly.

If the customer does choose to buy instore though then they reward that behaviour as well - so for example you get your shopping gift wrapped, have your purchase cheerfully carried to the door by the member of staff, and so on.

UK stores like currys are little more than shiny market stalls - there's no customer experience there, so customers prod and poke the things they want to buy, and then go home and buy from the cheapest possible retailer.

Apple stores were probably the closest we had to an actual customer experience in the UK - and it shows, as - sadly to it's detriment - the stores are* now so crowded on a weekend that they've become unpleasant.

*obviously I'm talking about pre/post lockdown!
Yes these are all things that John Lewis or any other retailer could do ,though interestingly I had a conversation today with a guy on Facebook very pleasant exchange ,who told me categorically customer service did not matter to him it was all down to price nothing more ,even John Lewis couldn't win that won with physical stores.

As an aside when I bought my apple computer from John Lewis I got a better two year free warranty from them then the one year apple were going to offer me. .

As for currys I avoid like the plague no service surly employees just my opinion though.
 

rfield

Well-known Member
Yes these are all things that John Lewis or any other retailer could do ,though interestingly I had a conversation today with a guy on Facebook very pleasant exchange ,who told me categorically customer service did not matter to him it was all down to price nothing more ,even John Lewis couldn't win that won with physical stores.

As an aside when I bought my apple computer from John Lewis I got a better two year free warranty from them then the one year apple were going to offer me. .

As for currys I avoid like the plague no service surly employees just my option though.
The bloke you spoke to on facebook might have a different opinion if he'd experienced Asian customer service! I suspect it's too late to turn things around for the uk now though - everything is so price dependent here that no luxury mall operator or store is going to invest hugely in the uk now. Even Westfield London is pretty anaemic and dull - stuffed full of Boots, phone shops, Costa coffees, etc.
 

Richard19601

Standard Member
The bloke you spoke to on facebook might have a different opinion if he'd experienced Asian customer service! I suspect it's too late to turn things around for the uk now though - everything is so price dependent here that no luxury mall operator or store is going to invest hugely in the uk now. Even Westfield London is pretty anaemic and dull - stuffed full of Boots, phone shops, Costa coffees, etc.
I work with asian people they have often said to me shopping there is much more peasant , funnily I think the last retailer to invest heavily in new store openings was .....John Lewis under Andy Street including a new store he opened in Birmingham of which he is now mayor , and that store is now closing. Don't think any other retailer will even try that now.

Yes I know what you mean about Westfield my son works near there ,though they do have a nice apple store there.
 

Loopthrough

Member
Hope the staff will be ok but realistically these stores were in trouble already (as JL have said).

Richer Sounds are still the gold standard and should be encouraged. Costco have some of the best deals around and, to my complete surprise, Currys have been surprisingly good in my recent experience.

I still rate Richer as the best place to buy anything AV related.
 

rfield

Well-known Member
I work with asian people they have often said to me shopping there is much more peasant , funnily I think the last retailer to invest heavily in new store openings was .....John Lewis under Andy Street including a new store he opened in Birmingham of which he is now mayor , and that store is now closing. Don't think any other retailer will even try that now.

Yes I know what you mean about Westfield my son works near there ,though they do have a nice apple store there.
Nah, this is a nice apple store :)
IMG_0424.jpeg
 

rfield

Well-known Member
Oh, and in case anyone is curious what a reasonable asian mall looks like (this one is in Bangkok, same location as the apple store)
IMG_0340.jpeg

IMG_0331.jpeg
 

peteinengland

Standard Member
Real shame, nice people and pretty good standards of customer service. Was a fun place to shop, hope the Staff get fixed up quickly. Another icon forever lost.
 

pint

Standard Member
Cheap shot. Their electronics, esp with longer warranties, are competitive.
Some of their stuff is overpriced but some of it is just better quality at a higher price.
If you go to a pile it high and sell it cheap discounter such as home bargains/B&M etc every now and again you may find something more expensive than usual. Ive always seen john lewis as the reverse of this usually worth a look, and every so often theres a good bargain to be had
 

rfield

Well-known Member
John Lewis is aimed at the more money than sense consumer.
Sorry, but that’s absolute rubbish. If lowest price shopping is all that people care about then economics dictate that it’s going to be an impossible task to revive the uk high street with anything more than extra poundland and b+m excitement - as they’re the only ones that can outfit a store for peanuts and still make a profit.
 
Last edited:

Captain Ron

Well-known Member
When’s I lived in the East Midlands a trip into Nottingham usually had me pottering around the AV dept in John Lewis. I generally found their staff helpful if not exactly bleeding edge in their tech knowledge. There was also a Richer Sounds and a very nice specialist AV dealer that sold more high end kit than you would typically find in the other two. It’s been 2 years since I left there to return to my native NI but I sincerely hope all three businesses survive the lockdown closures.
 

ThinkOfANumber

Standard Member
John Lewis, Richer Sounds, and Sevenoaks are still going in Nottingham. Castle S&V is still serving the high-end too. So despite having lost a few options we are still well served.
I was worried that our JL would be on the list.
 

Loopthrough

Member
If you go to a pile it high and sell it cheap discounter such as home bargains/B&M etc every now and again you may find something more expensive than usual. Ive always seen john lewis as the reverse of this usually worth a look, and every so often theres a good bargain to be had

A lot of JL's products ARE overpriced vs the competition (and not always for better quality). It's most noticeable in furniture and lighting.

I guess they'll say their overheads are higher to justify this overpricing.

On the other hand, clothing and some other categories may 'look' like a ripoff at face value, but once you compare the quality, materials and see they're made for them by reputable factories without sweatshops and waste dumping issues, you can see why they cost and are worth more.

Like Waitrose, you're also paying for the better trained staff, service and great upkeep of stores.

Not that I'd do much shopping there (can't afford it and even if I could I would only use them sparingly).

When you don't have much money it makes sense to buy fewer things but buy better quality (clothes etc) as they will last longer and be better value in the long run.

Plus, being better quality they will be timeless in style etc...


B&M and the like have their place for basics but ultimately a lot of what they sell is Alibaba/Amz Marketplace levels of cheap plastic tat, throwaway and false economy.

For electronics, I will always use Richer Sounds now. I don't want to see them disappear.

My Amazon love affair is slowly fading the more rubbish they're allowing on the site.
 

fordster

Member
John Lewis’ customer service is not what it used to be. The service in the store is usually still very good but after sales when you have to ring up and deal with an outsourced customer service centre is as bad as anywhere else. You’ve little to no chance of getting someone to take responsibility without having to contact the customer complaints department (who customer services can’t/won’t put you through to). Plus their price match has been a joke for years now (when they match other promotions they magically make things out of stock for the duration).

I feel very sorry for the staff who are losing their jobs. Plus all those who over the years have been outsourced so are no longer partners. John Lewis and Partners is a very misleading name as they have progressively moved to using more and more 3rd party companies (e.g. cleaning, IT, warehouse, etc) so a lot of staff have lost their partner benefits when they have been moved across. How someone who was rubbish at running OFCOM is going to turn around this retailer is beyond me. What John Lewis needs to do is get back to differentiating on quality rather than racing to the bottom with everyone else. There is no chance they can survive there.
 

daveb975

Well-known Member
It's always a shame to see any retailer struggling, primarily of course for the employees concerned.

I agree with the comments that JL is not what it once was, especially in relation to Hi-fi/AV.

I'm old enough to remember the 'Audio Room' at JL in Kingston which was a fully soundproofed, bookable demo room lined with separates and speakers. Nothing particularly high end, but some really nice equipment which I can't imagine many multiples selling now. I can't even remember seeing an AVR at JL!

Along with others here, I switched my AV buying to Richer Sounds quite some time ago and have had consistently excellent sales and after-sales experiences with them. They always book me a taxi (at their cost) to ferry my latest TV purchase home for example, and any issues I have had have been resolved quickly.
 

The latest video from AVForums

LG G1 OLED Evo TV and SVS SB-1000 Pro subwoofer reviews, Samsung OLED rumours and more...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

What's new on UK streaming services for May 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Samsung's 110-inch Micro LED TV on pre-order at Harrods
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Bang & Olufsen introduces Beosound Emerge speaker
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sony launches native 4K VPL-VW290ES and VW890ES projectors
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 14th April 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom