John Lewis to be profitable in 3 years - CEO
John Lewis CEO Sharon White has not ruled out seeking external investment to turn the struggling retailer profitable by 2026.
She stressed that the company would remain employee-owned. Speaking to members of the Employee Owned Association, White acknowledged that bringing the business back to profitability might require outside investment, but any such investment would need to comply with trust settlements that secure employee ownership and profit sharing.
White emphasized that employee ownership is a fundamental aspect of the company's identity. The John Lewis Partnership, which includes John Lewis department stores and Waitrose grocery stores, has faced financial difficulties, recording a £234 million loss in 2022.
White has faced criticism in the past for considering external investment, with concerns raised about the potential impact on employee ownership. The company's recent poor performance has been attributed to challenging economic conditions and a period of rapid expansion from 2000 to 2015. Despite winning a vote of confidence on her future leadership, White lost a vote on partners' confidence in her decision-making over the past year.