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Retail

Waitrose Owner Eyes End Of 100% Staff Ownership: Reports

By Reuters
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Waitrose Owner Eyes End Of 100% Staff Ownership: Reports

British retailer John Lewis, which has been 100% owned by its staff, is considering diluting its partnership structure, The Sunday Times reported at the weekend.

The report said that the company, which operates the Waitrose supermarket chain as well as John Lewis department stores, would consider selling only a minority stake and its priority would be to maintain majority employee ownership.

New Structure

Chairperson Sharon White is in the early stages of exploring a plan to change the retailer's mutual structure so it can try to raise between £1 billion (€1.14 billion) and £2 billion (€2.29 billion) of new investment, the report said.

Any outside investor would have to share the partnership's employee-centric values, the report added.

The company said on Friday it would have to cut staff numbers and scrap bonuses this year, flagging an uncertain outlook as customers struggle with inflation.

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Read More: Waitrose Parent John Lewis Scraps Staff Bonus As Losses Widen

'Fund Our Transformation'

"We’ve always said we would seek partnerships to help fund our transformation and exciting growth plans," John Lewis said in a statement at the weekend, citing previous partnerships with Ocado in the past and a current joint venture with investment firm abrdn.

"Our Partners, who own the business, will be the first to hear about any developments."

In February, Waitrose said it was cutting the prices of products ranging from British carrots and frozen peas to Fairtrade tea and British sausages.

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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