John Lewis pilots pick up 'buyback' service for unwanted clothing

Monday 18 June 2018

To help reduce the (1)300,000 tonnes of clothing which gets sent to landfill each year in the UK, in an industry first, John Lewis is piloting an innovative service in which customers can have any unwanted clothing bought from its 50 shops and website, collected from their home, and be paid immediately for each item regardless of its condition.

John Lewis has developed the idea, which is currently being tested by over 100 John Lewis customers, with social enterprise Stuffstr.  

The app-based service links to data on what the customer has bought from John Lewis over the past five years to value items. Customers select the products they want to sell and are immediately shown the amount they can receive for them. Once a customer has a minimum of £50 worth of clothing to sell a courier will collect the products within three hours.  As soon as the products have been collected, the customer is emailed a John Lewis e-gift card for the value of the items they have sold. Items bought back are then either resold, mended so they can be resold, or recycled into new products.

Martyn White, Sustainability Manager at John Lewis said; 'We already take back used sofas, beds, and large electrical items such as washing machines and either donate them to charity, or reuse and recycle parts and want to offer a service for fashion products.'

'It’s estimated that the average UK household owns around (2)£4,000 worth of clothes, but around 30% of that clothing has not been worn for at least a year, most commonly because it no longer fits.'

'We hope that by making it as easy as we possibly can for customers to pass on clothing that they’re no longer wearing we can ensure that the maximum life is extracted from items bought from us.  All customers need to do to earn money from their unwanted clothing is tap on the clothing they want to sell, hand it to a courier and it will be given to someone else to love or made into something new. If the concept proves successful the next stage will be to offer an option for customers to donate the money to charity.'

Last year, John Lewis reused over 27,000 electrical products, approximately 2,000 used sofas and recycled materials from 55,000 mattresses.

John Atcheson, CEO of Stuffstr said; 'We're excited to be working with John Lewis on this new service. 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. 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.'

Francois Souchet, Make Fashion Circular Lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation commented; 'Every second the equivalent of one truck full of clothes is sent to landfill or incineration. Creating a circular economy for fashion requires unprecedented levels of collaboration and new business models harnessing the power of digital technology. We hope that this collaboration between Suffstr and John Lewis will encourage other innovators to design out waste.'


1 WRAP figures published in 2017
2 WRAP report Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion


Notes to editors:

John Lewis - John Lewis operates 50 John Lewis shops across the UK (36 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as The retailer stocks around 350,000 separate lines in its department stores and on across fashion, home and technology.  This year John Lewis won, 'Best Multichannel Retailer 2018', 'Best Clothing Retailer 2018', and 'Best Furniture Retailer 2018' at the GlobalData Customer Satisfaction Awards 2018.  John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

*GlobalData Retail Customer Satisfaction Awards 2018


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Mandy Pursey
Communications Manager, Corporate
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