John Lewis is upgrading its in-house web content management and publishing workflow systems, as it puts more emphasis on online sales.

The department store chain told CIO sister title Computerworld UK it wants to improve the search on its website and be able to update the site much more easily and efficiently, as web traffic grows rapidly.

It said the internet was a “key part” of its strategy and that it was expanding its website. The web represented £268 million in sales for John Lewis in its financial year to 26 January, and while this is less than 10 percent of the company’s £2.8 billion sales for the period, it grew strongly at 44 percent year-on-year.

David Walmsley, head of web selling at John Lewis, said the company was updating its in-house web content management system and tagging more items in its online pages so that they are easier to search for because “we have a lot more content now”.

It is making upgrades to its Microsoft .Net infrastructure in a bid to better handle the expansion of its website, he said.

John Lewis is also improving its in-house publishing workflow system so that divisional managers can more quickly and systematically sign off content to go onto the website.

Walmsley said that the system upgrades were crucial for the store's plans to include significantly more information on its website. “We’re adding information such as much more extensive advice on products,” he said.

In a recent statement, the group said that “strengthening our online presence” had played a key role in growth alongside automating distribution and opening new stores, and that it would continue to place an emphasis on growing web revenues.

John Lewis has 180 staff in its online division. The company runs an Oracle customer database which is “at the heart” of sales and is shared with other divisions of the John Lewis partnership, including supermarket Waitrose. In addition to the content management system, its product database and e-commerce systems were also designed in-house.

Last week, the company said it was also replacing old two-factor authentication systems with a new remote secure authentication system for access to its IT systems. Around 15,000 workers will be able to use their mobile phones as part of steps to gain secure access.