In an attempt to remain relevant, John Lewis has announced plans to introduce personal stylists to the department store.
Boss of the department store, Paula Nickolds, has said the store needs to focus on selling “experiences” to combat the slump in clothing sales.
“There is still a bit of a stigma [around personal styling] from back in the day when Trinny and Susannah and Gok Wan would strip you off and make you stand in front a mirror in your bra and knickers,” a new stylist working for John Lewis. “It’s not like that,” she added.
“Your client needs to trust you in the first 30 seconds,” says Knight. “If you don’t build that trust straight away it’s going to become a difficult appointment.”
The introduction of personal stylists comes amid the difficult trading conditions faced by UK department stores.
Major price cutting by House of Fraser in the run-up its administration and purchase by Sports Direct (LON: SPD) has made things difficult for John Lewis and Debenhams (LON: DEB), whose share price has declined significantly.
The group experienced a 99 percent fall in first-half profits at the retailer.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the partnership, blamed heavy discounting at rival stores.
“These are challenging times in retail … gross margin has been squeezed in what has been the most promotional market we’ve seen in almost a decade,” he said.
The group also said that the “level of uncertainty facing consumers and the economy, in part due to ongoing Brexit negotiations” made it difficult to forecast trading.