John Lewis tests ‘buyback’ service

Omnichannel retailer John Lewis is piloting a service where it collects any unwanted clothing that has been bought from its 50 shops and website from the customer’s home and regardless of the condition of that clothing, to pay the customer for it.

The pilot scheme is developed with the social enterprise Stuffstr and will be tested by around 100 John Lewis customers. The system is based on an app, and allows the customer to select the clothes they wish to sell. When the customer has £50 worth of clothing, the clothes will be picked up by a courier within three hours. They will then be given a John Lewis gift card for that value.

The returned items are resold, mended so they can be resold, or recycled into new products.

“It’s estimated that the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but around 30 per cent of that clothing has not been worn for at least a year, most commonly because it no longer fits,” said John Lewis sustainability manager Martyn White.

“Every item has value, even old socks, and we want to make it as simple as possible for John Lewis customers to benefit from their unwanted clothes,” said Stuffstr chief executive John Atcheson. ”This service gives customers an incentive to buy high quality, longer-lasting products, and buying such products is a win for both customers and the environment.”