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John Lewis Chair Sharon White Moves To Clarify Partnership Plans

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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John Lewis Chair Sharon White Moves To Clarify Partnership Plans

Sharon White, the chair of the UK's John Lewis Partnership, has issued a statement in response to suggestions that the company plans to dilute its partnership structure.

Reports last weekend suggested that the partnership, which includes John Lewis department stores and the Waitrose & Partners supermarket chain, was planning to sell a minority stake in its business, while maintaining majority employee ownership.

Clarifying The Position

In her statement, White sought to clarify the company's position, "In seeking what's best for our business and our Partners, if we were to consider working with others that had implications for how we’re set up, we’d of course discuss it with our Partners first.

"As chairman, I have the responsibility - and the privilege - of ensuring everything we do is in the best interest of the Partnership. The Partnership will continue to evolve and change shape, as it has since its creation.

"What will remain a constant is our ownership of the business."

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Read More: Britain's John Lewis Appoints Nish Kankiwala To New CEO Role

Democratic Structure

White added that John Lewis' success is not accidental, but rather a result of the company's democratic structure, which empowers partners to give more to the business.

At the same time, she added that the group has "always been open" to new partnerships with investors or other like-minded companies, such as its agreement with investment fund abrdn, which is investing in its residential property business.

"I’m hugely grateful to our customers, for staying loyal to us. I do not take that for granted," White added.

© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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