Dame Sharon White has vowed to preserve what makes the John Lewis Partnership “unique,” as the chief of the struggling retail chain outlines how the company plans to navigate the cost of living crisis and retain its customer base.
Dame Sharon told The Telegraph retailers were continuing to see the “effects of the pandemic” and doesn’t believe that the sector it’s yet to land at a “new normal”.
“We know that if retail in the UK is to thrive, we cannot ignore the pace of change going on in the world,” she said, taking the opportunity to relay the range of value options that John Lewis and Waitrose are now offering at its stores to aid customers with the ongoing cost of living crisis.
She wrote: “Our mantra remains ‘value with values’, so we’re cutting prices by £100m in Waitrose this year while maintaining the quality customers expect.”
Dame Sharon’s vow to keep the employee-owned business “unique” comes amidst a rocky time for the retailer, as just last month it was revealed that the chief was looking to sell a minority stake in the company to raise much needed funds for its loss making brands.
John Lewis has appointed retail veteran Nish Kankiwala as its first ever chief executive to work closely with the chairman.
Nish, who was the former chief executive of Hovis and has held senior roles at Burger King and PepsiCo, will take up the role on 27 March and remains a member of the Partnership Board – which he has sat on since 2021.
John Lewis and Waitrose loyalty schemes
The news was faced with backlash with former boss Andy Street labelling the possible decision as a “tragedy if John Lewis ownership changes.
It appears that White is now doing everything possible to retain its middle class customer base during difficult economic times.
The John Lewis Partnership has drafted in Dunnhumby, the company which helped establish Tesco’s clubcard scheme in the 1990s and, also, promotions business Eagle Eye Solutions Group.
However, the partnership that owns both brands had previously revealed plans to merge the two systems together.