John Lewis to push own-brand range of products

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John Lewis is planning a major push into own-brand products following the success of a trial range of household appliances.

The department store group will launch new lines in collaboration with brands such as Italy's Guzzini, or the British designer, Nick Munro, next year.

Its move mirrors that of J Sainsbury, which has teamed up with big names such as Sir Terence Conran to produce affordable designer ranges exclusive to the supermarket chain.

Demand for John Lewis's new range of electrical appliances , including washing machines and dishwashers, has exceeded expectations since being launched two months ago. In the Peter Jones store, on London's Kings Road, alone, the 10 lines in the range have amassed £1m of sales in the past seven weeks.

Jill Little, the merchandise director, said: "It shows how much trust and interest there is in the John Lewis brand. There is a lot more of this to come."

Last year own-brand lines accounted for 27 per cent of sales through the chain, or £130m. A new range of womenswear under the JL label contributed.

John Lewis is in the throes of a group-wide facelift, aimed at bringing it into the 21st century. It is opening or re-siting 10 new stores over the next 10 years in towns such as Cambridge and Liverpool.

It has dropped its long-standing Jonelle brand because it felt it did not "stand for enough" for consumers.