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John Lewis Partnership Case Study: UK Retail Chain is Owned by its Employees

John Lewis Partnership is one of the UK’s most well-known and successful retail chains. Whereas most retailers of its scale are owned by shareholders, John Lewis Partnership is owned by its employees. John Lewis Partnership is owned by its employees via a trust.

Financials for the past ten years show JLP performing strongly, even in difficult market conditions. This is reflected in the structures in place for workplace democracy, and in the annual profit-share bonus given to all employees. Company strategy focuses on long-term planning, brand strength, and employee partnership. Without the need to satisfy shareholders, the company is able to maintain long-term plans even if this temporarily affects profitability. Staff loyalty, as reflected in turnover rates, is better than average for the UK retail sector. The company has a strong brand, based on quality, service, value, and partnership. This permits it to maintain sales, even when competitors offer cheaper alternatives. However, price competition is an issue, particularly in the UK’s concentrated food retail sector. JLP is responding with strategies such as Essential Waitrose, which attempts to offer lower-priced basic foods without compromising the Waitrose brand identity.

To know the ways in which this unusual form of ownership has fostered its successful performance, please read our case study John Lewis Partnership Case Study: UK Retail Chain is Owned by its Employees.

 

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