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Technology

UK Retailer John Lewis Boosts AI Capability With Google Deal

By Reuters
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UK Retailer John Lewis Boosts AI Capability With Google Deal

British retailer John Lewis Partnership has agreed a five-year deal with Alphabet Inc's Google Cloud, enabling it to harness the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology.

The employee-owned partnership, which runs John Lewis department stores and the Waitrose supermarket chain, said the new agreement, which builds on a decade-long relationship with Google Cloud, was worth £100 million (€116.04 million).

Under the expanded agreement, more of the partnership's technology will migrate to Google Cloud.

The partnership said the cloud provider's AI and ML tools would enable its workforce to be more efficient, spend more time focusing on customers and make better use of data insights to help curate products and services.

Cost Savings

Seeking cost savings, more retailers are increasing their use of automation, data, and technologies like ML algorithms to produce highly personalised shopping experiences for consumers.

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Google Cloud agreed a similar deal with European home improvement retailer Kingfisher last November.

Zak Mian, the John Lewis Partnership's chief transformation and technology officer, said an example was customers using an image scanning feature in their John Lewis App to show its home design stylists a room they're looking to furnish.

"Not only does it save customers a lot of time and hassle, but even before the appointment we can take inspiration from their unique preferences and give tailored recommendations that can even complement products they already have," he said.

The partnership, which reported a £234 million (€271.5 million) loss in its 2022-23 year, is halfway through a five-year recovery plan and has said it may seek external investment.

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