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John Lewis May Dilute Historic Partnership Model, Times Reports

A John Lewis department store is lit up at night with holiday lights.
John Lewis, Oxford Street. (Shutterstock)

John Lewis Partnership Plc may dilute its famous employee-owned structure to raise new investment as UK retail conditions worsen, the Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

The company, which owns the high-end grocery chain Waitrose as well as its eponymous department stores, may explore a change in the company’s mutual structure so it can raise at least £1 billion ($1.2 billion) of new investment, according to the Times.

A minority stake may require a change to the firm’s constitution. John Lewis has been employee-owned for more than seven decades.

On Thursday, John Lewis reported a £234 million loss, cancelled its employee bonus for the second time in three years, and warned of new job cuts for its 80,000 partners who co-own the business.

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The company is losing ground to profitable competitor Marks & Spencer Group Plc, which recently reported its best-ever market share in food retailing.

John Lewis’ new plan is being overseen by chairwoman Sharon White, who was encouraged toward the idea of selling a minority stake in the core business by finance chief Bérangère Michel, according to the Times.

By Todd Gillespie

Learn more:

John Lewis Cancels Employee Bonus as Losses Mount

John Lewis Partnership plc cancelled staff bonuses for the second time in three years and warned of fresh job cuts after reporting a large loss amid intense competition in the British retail market.

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