Now I don't think that both stories sit happily hand-in-hand and it's another case of the truth being more shades of grey than the black and white reporters make it out to be.
I've blogged loads of times about the advantages of 'Click & Collect' and I feel that these apply whether you are a High Steeet chain or a single independent retailer. It allows you to sell products online that maybe you can't stock in store. It brings people through your door that may not have otherwise visited, customers who collect spend more money whilst in store. There are even companies that allow you to collect things that you've not even bought trough them - Argos have set up collection points for eBay purchases and mdny independent stores have become Collect+ locations, with sellers including Amazon.
So why are John Lewis different?
Obviously they've looked at their business model and they don't think that it works at present. I've heard the head of their organisation talk before about customers needing to change their pricing expectation when ordering online. He believes that customers need to stop expecting a product at the same price and free delivery. I think he's deluded. The fact that they don't have to pay High Street or shopping centre rent, the savings in staffing and the reduced security concerns of having customers walk through their doors should mean a cheaper online product in my eyes. It's why Amazon are so successful - their long-term model to now has been online-only sales.
For independent retailers I'd say that having an online store will bring you extra business, not extra costs. Enabling your local customers to collect directly from you should increase your market, your footfall and your profits. Whether you do this through your existing website, a custom-built sales-only website, eBay or Facebook, one things for sure - you'll bring more people through your door, whether physically or digitally.