John Lewis has accused an anti-Israel campaign group of sending “false and misleading” information after it published a press release wrongly linking the department store’s withdrawal of an Israeli cosmetics brand with its boycott campaign.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) sent an email to its mailing list on Friday claiming John Lewis was “now refusing to stock” Ahava products.
It said: “John Lewis’ decision signifies yet another victory for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Consumers are refusing to buy goods from companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.”
It quoted a letter from John Lewis's managing director, Andy Street, which linked its policy on working conditions to its decision to stop stocking the products.
But a John Lewis spokeswoman said the decision was based “solely on the sales performance of the products”.
She said: “I can confirm that the PSC wrote to Andy Street to ask firstly about whether we had ceased to sell Ahava products and secondly our stance on ethical sourcing.
“Andy responded to confirm that we no longer sell Ahava products, a decision which had been taken and implemented well before he received the PSC's letter.
“This was a purely commercial decision based solely on the performance of those products.
“In addition, in the content of his letter of response, Andy outlined John Lewis's responsible sourcing policy.
“This information is entirely unrelated to the decision to cease stocking Ahava products, however the person who wrote the PSC's press release put the two elements together to create a false and misleading quote.
“We can confirm that we continue to stock products sourced from Israel.”