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Published on October 1st, 2019 | by The GC Team

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John Lewis announces plan to break free from “cycle of declining returns”

The John Lewis Partnership today announced changes that will enable its two brands, John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners, to be managed and operated as a single business in a plan labelled ‘Future Partnership’.

The business said the new cross-Partnership roles and the greater integration of the two brands will mean a reduction of around 75 senior management head office roles from the current total of 225.

All aspects of the plan will ultimately lead to a cost-saving of c.£100m over time.

The two brands will be managed by a single Executive team led by the Chairman, responsible for the Partnership’s business strategy and performance. It will comprise seven new director roles with responsibilities across the whole of the Partnership. There will no longer be divisional boards or separate Managing Directors for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.

The smaller Partnership Board will include the Chairman, the Executive Director, Finance, three Elected Directors and a minimum of two Non-Executive Directors, including the Deputy Chairman. Paula Nickolds, currently Managing Director of John Lewis & Partners, will become Executive Director, Brand.

The company said the move would speed up decision-making, enabling the business to respond rapidly to customers’ needs, and make internal and customer service systems more efficient and effective through developing common IT and supply chain platforms.

Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said the lesson of the last two years is that the business needs more innovation, faster decision-making and bolder steps to align its operating model with its strategy. 

“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.”    

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