The John Lewis Partnership shortlists six entrepreneurs for its innovation programme

18 February 2018

The John Lewis Partnership today announced that following a competitive pitch day for its retail innovation programme JLAB, it will continue discussions with six businesses who could transform how we shop in the future.


Over 160 new start-ups and more established businesses entered the experiential retail challenge with the chance of being selected to develop their ideas with John Lewis & Partners.

Eleven businesses, all determined to explore the new role for shops in our lives, were invited to pitch to a panel of ten judges at John Lewis & Partners in Southampton, as well as to a group of customers and John Lewis employees (Partners), whose opinions fundamentally shaped the decisions made by the judges. These ranged from a new way to navigate and explore larger shops from your smartphone, to the very latest beauty services in your home and even pioneering technology to create “urban allotments” within shops.

The businesses selected to continue discussions with JLAB and potentially work with the Partnership in the future are:

  • SeloyLive who transform shop windows into huge interactive displays which customers can engage with and control from their fingertips.
  • Oriient who are ensuring customers can navigate directly to the products they desire in our shops and unlock further exploration of the store experience through their smartphone.
  • Ruuby which allows customers to book the very latest beauty treatments at home, or any other location they choose - office, shop and even a hotel. 
  • MemoMi who enable customers to virtually try on a huge array of fashion and beauty products, providing an innovative way for customers to navigate choice and access truly personalised recommendations based on their detailed image profile and preferences.
  • MakersCAFE who are dialling up personalisation through 3D printing and laser cutting on customers most loved products and gift purchases.
  • LettUs Grow who are embracing the use of retail space in their pursuit of a more sustainable approach to farming, and as a route to reinvigorating communities, through the shared joy of growing. Their technology, through the growing of plants without soil anywhere in the world, is set to reimagine the world of farming and community gardening.

Peter Cross, Customer Experience Director at John Lewis & Partners, said: “Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail. Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop. Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers - offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences. We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLAB will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

This year’s JLAB theme builds on the significant investment the Partnership is making in product and service innovation, and Partner led services. Personal Styling at John Lewis & Partners has been transformed, with training for Partners, new appointment types, upgraded styling suites and dedicated fashion event spaces. John Lewis & Partners has also continued to see growing demand for personalised experiences, seeing success with new services such as the Beauty Studio and private shopping.

The JLAB experiential retail challenge follows on from two pitch days held in June and September 2018, which focused on health and wellbeing and reducing plastic waste. JLAB is one of the largest innovation programmes in the UK and last year it was expanded to run as an all year-round programme and opened to both start-ups and more established businesses.


John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands, John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. Started as a radical idea nearly a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with 83,000 employees who are all Partners in the business and share in its profits. The Partnership operates on strong democratic principles, which means that every Partner has a say in how the organisation is run. The business has annual gross sales of over £11.5bn, over 400 shops and a leading online business. Its commercial strategy is focused on differentiation rather than scale, through investment in innovation and Partner led service.

John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis & Partners operates 51 John Lewis & Partners shops across the UK (37 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

Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose & Partners has 349 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service. Waitrose & Partners is an employee-owned business - all employees are Partners and have a say in how the business is run.

Waitrose & Partners exports products to more than 50 countries worldwide and has nine shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. The retailer's omnichannel business includes the online grocery service,, as well as specialist online shops including for wine and for plants and flowers.   


John Lewis Partnership

Sarah Henderson
Partner & Group Senior External Communications Manager
Mobile: 07764 676036