- CompanyJohn Lewis Partnership
When White arrived in February at John Lewis Partnership, profits had been struggling for years, and sales were battered by shifts in shopping (think digital) and a viciously competitive grocery sector, even as the company remained one of U.K.’s best loved brands with its union of department stores and the upmarket Waitrose grocery chain. A Cambridge-educated economist who has been granted the honorific of “Dame,” White had spent her previous career as a senior civil servant. The pandemic didn’t make her job easier. White was forced to permanently close eight stores, while temporary lockdown closures caused half-year sales to fall 10%, and to ax the annual bonus for employees—who own the company in a partnership model—for the first time in 67 years. But her turnaround strategy promises a much-anticipated shake-up, looking toward digital commerce and delivery services.
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