John Lewis launches search for tech firms to help lift its game

 
Kasmira Jefford
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JOHN LEWIS has launched a search for five start-up technology companies to develop new ideas for the retailer and to help it stay ahead as mobiles and tablets change the way consumers shop.

The department store group is setting up a technology incubator called JLAB, with five successful firms given office space and advice to come up with a product or idea that ensures John Lewis remains “on the cutting edge of change”.

“The innovation focus we are looking for needs to help provide our customers with the most coherent, cross-channel shopping experience possible,” retail director Andrew Murphy said.

The project, which will run from June until September, is being launched in partnership with Stuart Marks, an entrepreneur who has built and sold several tech firms and owns a fund which invests in start-up businesses.

At the end of the incubation period, JLAB will pick a winner and invest £100,000 to help develop its project which, if successful, will be rolled out across John Lewis’ estate.