Well, you’re going to see this a million times before the man in the red robes makes his way down your chimney this year.

Like it or not its up to you, and as with all good things that make friends and build loyalty it will equally develop enemies on the less sentimental side of the spectrum. You don’t make good friends without good enemies and there is certainly enough to go round for a retailer like John Lewis.



On the subject of millions, as far as I know for every £ spent on the Christmas campaign by John Lewis, and that amounts to about £7 million this year they see a return in sales increase of around 5 times. £35 million is certainly a return on investment to warm the heart of even the most entrenched Christmas Scrooge.

Clearly no advert is an island, certainly not one that generates that level of sales increase, and the clever thinking is the 360 degree campaign that sees the emotional tugging of the heart strings through the advertising transferred to a thousand store windows, hundreds of Christmas shops and departments and finally through to a strategically developed range of commercial best sellers to maximise the sales opportunities of the man, his moon, his balloons, the telescope, some wrapping paper and quite possibly some specially branded John Lewis moon cheese.

Its predictable, but clever, and possible through a fully integrated retail calendar linking merchandising and buying to marketing and store operations and everyone in between. And as with all good things, its not just for Christmas. Retail never stops, and the rewards for a retailer that doesn’t stop either is the gift of Christmas futures filled with perpetual commercial celebrations.

So, as we’ve now left Halloween behind, which is respectable timing for the UK, follow the link below and indulge in the John Lewis advert at least once, if only to admire its strategy, and even if the sentiment itself leaves you running for the door at the mere thought of devouring some “sickly-sweet” moon cheese.



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Ironically, and symptomatic of the retail year, this leaves us pondering on next years focus before we’re fully into this years season. The three strikes and out rule would suggest that the current formula may be coming to the end of its life cycle, we’ll see. But as market leaders and Christmas leaders John Lewis will as usual be ahead of the game, with all eyes watching, which in itself is the true testament to this wonderful retailer firmly on top of its game.

We are not all John Lewis, but we all need to maximise Christmas sales and all other commercial opportunities throughout the year. Developing a retail calendar which combines the emotional with the hard commercial is at the heart of optimising every month of potential sales.

VM-unleashed works with retailers to develop such calendars, fully integrating the assortment planning with space planning and through to marketing, store visual display and total omni-channel delivery.


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VM-Unleashed! is a retail consultancy. It is what it says … “Accessible expertise: Helping retailers make the most of what they have!”

We are always looking forwards to hearing from existing clients and potential new collaborators…

We work in three main ways – through workshops, through projects and through retail tools.

    • Our workshops are completely tailored to our clients. They range from our classic 2 day VM Operations workshops, to any length, level of interaction and content focus. They are always interactive, personalised to the client including a review of the current business; they are both visual with current best practice and competitor reviews as well as expertly analytical with detailed strategic outlines and best practice processes. discover more here…


    • Our projects are equally collaborative. We make improvements to a business in its profitability, its efficiency, its expertise and its processes. We work on both head office functions, and the delivery of tangible store improvements, and on all the necessary retail integration in between. discover more here…


    • Our tools are a series of retail audits, analytics and benchmarking processes which can be carried out independently or as part of projects. They are quick, decisive and cost effective to implement. They can analyse internal client performance, strategies and standards as well as the quality and consistency of store delivery. They can also benchmarking clients’ processes, deliverables and standards against competitors and best practice. discover more here…


In all cases, essentially we are small, often just myself, with the aim to leave a legacy in a business through the variety of people we work with, the close way that we work with them, and how we make them work together. Our improvements and our benefit, lasts long after we are gone.

Whether you are an established player, or a new kid on the retail block, we can probably help improve your efficiency, your expertise, your store delivery and of course your sales performance and profitability.

Catch my profile on LinkedIn…always happy to connect! uk.linkedin.com/in/timradley/

I look forward to hearing your questions, whether large or small.

Always expert and easily accessible.

Thank you.

tim radley - CEO, VM-unleashed.ltd


+44 (0)7967 609849