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John Lewis Partnership May Not Reopen All Stores Once Lockdown Is Over

John Lewis Stratford 725 x 500.jpg

An article in The Times suggests that the John Lewis Partnership is considering leaving some of its stores closed on a permanent basis after the lockdown is ended.

Dame Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, is understood to have requested an analysis of the store estate with a view to 'right-sizing' as part of a strategic review, and is considering the possibility of store relocations and reducing floorspace in existing stores.  

Furthermore, the retailer is considering placing Waitrose food halls within John Lewis stores to encourage further footfall.

It is also understood that the John Lewis Partnership is considering bringing in an external investor to finance and launch a joint venture business that would reduce its reliance on retail.  Currently, John Lewis offers a range of financial services and home-related services, such as fitted kitchens, curtain-making and customised furnishings, but is thought to have an interest in 'more substantial diversification', according to the article.

A joint-venture arrangement seems more likely than an investor taking a stake in the business, as the Partnership is owned by a trust, on behalf of its employees which are known as 'Partners'.  

A spokesman told The Times: “A non-negotiable is that we remain an employee-owned business.” 

The Partnership recently updated on trading, advising that while online sales were up, customers were buying less profitable lines.

Currently, the John Lewis Partnership is Britain’s largest employee-owned business, with 50 John Lewis & Partners department stores and 344 Waitrose & Partners supermarkets, employing 81,500 'partners' across the business.  Around 14,000 Partners are currently furloughed.

Source : Insight DIY Team

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27 April 2020

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