John Lewis Direct enlists buy.com chief

The John Lewis Partnership has appointed buy.com marketing chief Gordon Henderson as marketing chief for its new direct-selling arm, John Lewis Direct.

Henderson, who will report to John Lewis Direct managing director Murray Hennessy, will oversee the department store's move to radically expand its appeal and national reach, now limited to its 26 stores.

The division brings together the John Lewis' e-commerce site johnlewis.com, which relaunched this week, buy.com UK, the computer and office equipment e-tailer it acquired last year, and a mail-order catalogue operation that will launch in time for Christmas.

The company is also considering other delivery channels such as interactive TV and mobile phones.

This week's web site overhaul saw its offering swell from 1200 to 5000 products across a range of categories, as well as the opening of a fulfilment centre in Birmingham that offers online buyers the option of next-day delivery. Internet orders had previously been fulfilled through its store network.

The retailer is mounting a press and online campaign on AOL, MSN and LineOne to promote its direct-selling assault. The online campaign will not use John Lewis' 'never knowingly undersold' slogan because the company believes the internet market is too competitive. Above-the-line advertising is through Burkitt DDB.

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