Speaking today (27 April) at Marketing Week Live, Bates said: “I wouldn’t say Amazon opening physical retail sites is a cause for concern. What keeps us awake at night is just how easy they’ve made the one-click shop, the consistency of their fulfilment and the impact of Prime as the default choice for so many users; Amazon Fresh could be very compelling.
“Look, Amazon is a strong retailer and we can learn a lot from them.”
With the likes of BHS recently entering administration, Bates said British retail is at a “tough stage” in 2016. He said British consumers are now more interested in investing in leisure and entertainment than retail.
“In 2014 we were at 7% sales growth, last year that dipped to 4% so it’s been pretty tough for a while. Quite simply, consumer spend isn’t going on retail products right now it is going into leisure, experiences and holidays abroad. We have to work harder as a business to drive sales,” said.
Bates also admitted that its ‘My John Lewis’ loyalty scheme is still causing too much confusion among its shoppers. He said that it would be working harder to drive awareness of the scheme this year through its marketing.
He added: “We still have too many members unclear of what My John Lewis is actually about for my liking. There’s only so much marketing can do. Getting our staff on the front line really passionate about it is key – everyone needs to be on message for it to fulfil its potential.”