John L update does away with Jonelle

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The Independent Online

Department store chain John Lewis is scrapping its longstanding own brand Jonelle. The move is part of a wider programme to update the entire chain. All of the partnership's 26 outlets, with the exception of Peter Jones in London's Sloane Square, are being renamed John Lewis and in a continuation of that, Jonelle items will be gradually replaced with John Lewis branded goods.

Jonelle products currently extend across the store, from curtain hooks to towels and cutlery. Other John Lewis own brands, such as the Guise menswear range and Mischief children's toys, will not be effected by the move.

Director of selling support James Furse said the decision was part of an ongoing attempt to introduce products and ranges that appealed to a wider audience. A spokeswoman added: "We did have a number of stores with random names but now they have changed over and this is all being shown in our marketing and advertising." The partnership recently launched its first series of television adverts for John Lewis and has spent around £300m refitting older stores. It also intends to spend a similar amount on new stores - the partnership does not have a presence in Leeds, for example, and has already announced plans to open in the Trafford Centre in Manchester in 2005.

In recent years, the 140-year old firm - traditionally known for limited product ranges and being shut on Sundays and Mondays - has faced stiffer competition from a revitalised Marks & Spencer, Selfridges expanding into the regions and the popularity of brands such as Debenhams.

Last week, John Lewis, which also owns the high-end Waitrose supermarket chain, said the cold weather had bolstered sales of clothing while strong demand for perfumery products and toys was attributed to the start of festive gift buying. The group also said "the party season" was reasonable for a 79 per cent surge in the sale of fishnet tights in the week ending 29 November and the sale of more than 1,500 thongs.

England success in the Rugby World Cup also continued to play a part, with a steep increase in the amount of Cross of St George cufflinks sold.

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