Department store operator John Lewis expects to see a "resurgence" in UK sourcing as retailers look to differentiate themselves and offer unique products as more and more customers shop online, its chairman Charlie Mayfield said today (14 March).

"It has never been more important to develop and source products which are what your customers really want and can only buy from you," he said.

Meanwhile, years of deflation in apparel prices are set to come to an end as developing economies focus on stimulating domestic consumption," he told delegates at the Cloud Retail Week Conference in London.

Highlighting rising minimum wage rises in China, Mayfield said China is increasing minimum wages by 15% per year over the next five years as part of government efforts to drive domestic growth.

"That will change the dynamics in terms of supply and demand," he said.

Speaking about the economy, he said UK consumer spending is unlikely to return to the same levels as before the recession. Instead, he believes the economy is moving into a "new phase", thanks to a tightening of consumer credit and inflation, driven by developing economies.

In 2007, the average UK household had 10 times the debt of those in other developed countries, and Mayfield expects it to take 10 years for that debt burden to unwind fully.

The John Lewis Partnership operates 35 John Lewis shops across the UK and 268 Waitrose supermarkets. The business has annual gross sales of over GBP8.2bn (US$13.1bn).

At the end of last year it announced its intention to show its support of British manufacturing by putting a 'Made in UK' logo on more than 4,000 products. The identifier will appear on ticketing and online product information to highlight British-made items - including the recently launched John Lewis & Co men's wear range.