The news that John Lewis & Partners is gearing up to re-open its 50 stores by mid-May sent a message of hope tinged with caution to the nation’s greeting card retailers who are pondering on when and how they will be able to safely and viably open their doors again.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, John Lewis & Partners’ Andrew Murphy revealed that the department stores could be ready to accept customers through its doors again by mid-May.
The plan to get things going again would take six weeks to complete from the starter’s gun being fired.
“For the last four or five weeks the crisis has been intense and the demands have meant we’ve been dealing with circumstances changing almost daily. Over the past seven to ten days there has been a shift. For the first time we have been properly beginning to think about a restart,” Andy Murphy told the Mail on Sunday in the edition that was published two days ago and has been picked up by other media.
He said that the plan would take six weeks to complete, with its stores which have large car parks re-opening first. Its stores in London, Birmingham and Glasgow would stay closed longer.
In the meantime, in addition to its physical greeting card displays in Waitrose stores (which, as food shops have continued to trade throughout lockdown), John Lewis has been offering almost 500 greeting card and notelet packs for sale online though designs which are on trend, such as rainbow-centric cards, are ‘out of stock’ as demand exceeds supply as the nation adopts this as a symbol by which to show support to NHS and frontline workers.
In addition to John Lewis providing key NHS staff and health workers with hand creams, lip balms, eye masks and socks, among other non-clinical, essential items, the retail group has just launched Feel Good Friday, an initiative conceived to help bring the nation together. The first burst of activity tasks youngsters to design a ‘super-bear’ cuddly toy that celebrates the spirit and fortitude of the men and women working on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis.
The bear will be sold at Christmas in John Lewis and Waitrose stores, with 100% of the profits going to the NHS.
To see the YouTube video which explains about #DesignYourSuperBear challenge, click here:
“The acts of gratitude demonstrated by the public towards frontline workers, from the thousands of ‘thank you’ pictures to Thursday evening clapping, shows how deep our nation’s love for the NHS goes,” comments Martin George, marketing director for the John Lewis Partnership. “We’ve already been supporting the NHS and critical workers in a number of ways, but we want to make a lasting contribution that demonstrates our appreciation for those who are on the front line.”
Every Friday, John Lewis and Waitrose will focus on one skill or pastime to help people enjoy a shared interest or learn something new, creating stronger relationships within local communities.
Working with Partners, celebrity experts, a range of charities and the NHS, initiatives will include everything from gardening, arts and crafts, and mindfulness, to baking and fitness.
Top: One of the early entries to the Superhero Bear competition.