Sharon White. A politician to straighten John Lewis
When she took her new role in February 2020, Ms. Sharon White (52), the new President of John Lewis Partnership cooperative group, created controversy. Woman of influence and renowned economist; she has no experience in retail. Succeeding Sir Charlie Mayfield, she announced, on her arrival, potential “difficult decisions concerning the stores and the jobs”. The publication of annual results confirms the difficulties of the group, which manages 50 John Lewis department stores and 338 Waitrose supermarkets. The company is going through its most difficult period since its creation in the 1920s. And is preparing for a drop in the number of buyers due to the virus, or even closings. Despite strong performance for Waitrose during the financial year ending in January 2020 (operating profit of €251 million, + 6%), the Group’s margin fell by 23%, reaching €145 million.