John Lewis and Waitrose brands to be run as a single Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership has announced plans for its two brands, John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners, to be integrated so the Partnership will be managed and operated as a single business.

As part of its plan called ‘Future Partnership’, the retailer said this will “enable a faster delivery of better products and services for our customers” and that the influence of its customer-facing Partners will help improve the customer offer.

Through these changes, which come into effect from 3 February 2020, there will be a reduction of around 75 senior management roles and the plan will ultimately lead to an overall cost saving of around £100m over time.

The two brands will now be managed by a single Executive team led by the Chairman, with seven new Director roles and there will no longer be divisional boards or separate Managing Directors for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.

As well as this, Paula Nickolds, currently Managing Director of John Lewis & Partners, will become Executive Director, Brand; responsible for the continued enhancement of the Partnership’s brands and leading the development of customer experience and future innovations.

Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield, said: “In the last three years we have delivered significant innovation and driven efficiency, maintaining market leading service standards and growing customer numbers. However, the lesson of the last two years is that we need more innovation, faster decision making and bolder steps to align our operating model with our strategy.

“There will be considerable change in many areas of the Partnership as we bring the two businesses much closer together. These are necessary and these changes will be difficult for some of our Partners and we will implement as carefully and sensitively as we can.     

“We are confident, as a Board, that when the programme is complete, the Partnership will be better positioned to break out from the cycle of declining returns that are affecting most established retailers. We will be a more modern and more unified business with a leadership team and cost structure that will enable the business to thrive in the long-term.”    

Sharon White, Chairman designate, added: “I am passionate about working together as one Partnership. There is huge potential to unlock from Partners working across our two great brands, providing brilliant service to the many customers who shop at both Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners. And I am very excited to be taking forward the Partnership in this next phase of its transformation when I join at the start of next year.”