“At John Lewis and Waitrose, every partner receives the same percentage of bonus, from the CEO to the store handler.”
Andy Street is Managing Director of John Lewis department stores
Whilst profit slides at Tesco and Debenhams, John Lewis Partnership’s sales have been growing for 6 years through a strategy focusing on the U.K. home market. Sophie Baqué met Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis department stores.
Sophie Baqué: Can you explain the John Lewis Partnership?
Andy Street: John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is a multi-format retailer created more than 150 years ago. In the semester ending in July 2014, JLP ran 31 John Lewis department stores (an average of 12,200 sq.m GLA), 10 “John Lewis at Home” furniture stores, 326 Waitrose supermarkets and two e-commerce websites. In the fiscal year ending in January 2014, JLP’s gross sales (including VAT) rose by 6.6% to £10.2 billion (€12.9 billion) and outpaced those of Marks & Spencer for the first time.
What is the long term strength of John Lewis?
Our department stores are historically focused on the home equipment sector, a category founded on our reputation of price, reliability and high quality of customer service. Our portfolio is incredibly well balanced: 33% of the turnover comes from home furnishing, 33% from home electrical and 33% from fashion. In the United States and in continental Europe, most department stores have almost stopped selling furniture and home appliance and became very dependent on fashion.
What is your objective for 2014?
In the half year ending in July, the turnover of JLP jumped by 6% to £5 billion, with like-for-like growth of 8.2% at John Lewis department stores and 1.3% at Waitrose. I am very optimistic for the full year 2014.
To what extent does your co-operative status drive the business?
At John Lewis, we call our employee as “partners”, since our 91,000 partners own the cooperative. All have an equal share, and profit is given back by a bonus. In every Waitrose supermarket and John Lewis department store, owners are serving you, ensuring the best retail experience.