John Lewis could bring staff-owned structure to an end

20th March 2023 | Jack Oliver

The John Lewis Partnership is considering an investment strategy which could see the group deviate away from its staff-owned management structure, The Sunday Times has reported.

The group, which also operates Waitrose, has been owned by staff members for over 70 years.

Under the current structure, members of staff receive a share of profits, however in a tough period of trading for the retailer, it is considering selling a minority stake.

It is reported that the partnership is looking to raise up to £2bn.

The group’s chair, Dame Sharon White, is reportedly looking for investment to invest in improved technology and data analysis, as well as Waitrose’s supply chain.

It is believed that should a minority stake be sold, staff members will still retain majority control of the retail group.

During the Pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, the partnership has endured a period of tough trading which saw the group make a loss of £234m in 2022-23, which saw no bonus paid to staff. This was only the second time since 1953. The retailer has also reduced staff numbers and closed stores.

In an effort to cut costs, it was recently revealed that John Lewis is looking to sell its Maidenhead golf club, which has been under its control since 1938.

Should a stake in the group be sold, this would not be the first time John Lewis had worked with outside investors, with the partnership currently undergoing a £500m joint venture with arbdn to deliver 1,000 new homes.


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