• By Emma Simpson and Lucy Hooker
  • Small business Correspondent, BBC News

20 minutes ago

Image credit: Getty Photos

John Lewis is taking into consideration a possible alter to its employee-owned small business structure, which would upend a lot more than 70 years of tradition.

The group, which also owns Waitrose, is at present wholly owned by its employees, who get a share of the income.

But in the face of tougher trading, the firm is stated to be exploring the concept of ​​selling a minority stake.

The Sunday Instances, which initially reported the move, stated the firm hoped to raise up to £2bn.

The company’s chairman, Dame Sharon White, is stated to be taking into consideration a possible strategy to dilute the effectively-identified partnership structure to invest in superior technologies, information analytics and Waitrose’s provide chain.

The BBC was told the concept was at a “quite, quite early stage” of discussion and might not come about. Even so, if it does, it would not imply a total removal of the frequent ownership structure and these employees would retain majority handle.

Even so, it could nonetheless prove controversial amongst personnel, who jointly personal the complete small business and advantage from any income.

The profit-sharing model has sometimes resulted in significant windfalls. In 2008, employees received an quantity equivalent to about ten weeks’ salary as a bonus.

Even so, more than the previous 3 years, the firm has had to navigate the choppy waters of the pandemic and price-of-living crisis. It produced a loss of £234m in 2022-three and did not spend employees a bonus for only the second time due to the fact 1953. It has also closed retailers and reduce employees.

John Lewis has worked with outdoors corporations in the previous: Ocado launched grocery deliveries for Waitrose, and not too long ago set up a housing improvement joint venture with investment firm Abrdn. If the move goes by way of, it would be the initially sale of a stake in the core small business.

In some cases the mutual structure was observed as a model for undertaking small business differently, taking into account a wider variety of stakeholders and focusing much less on shareholder income.

When Sir Nick Clegg was deputy prime minister, he heralded this group as a model for the complete economy.

John Lewis did not comment on the reports, but stated: “We have constantly stated we will be hunting for partnerships to aid fund our transformation and thrilling development plans.

“We did that with Ocada in the previous, and now with Abrdn. Our partners, who personal the small business, will be the initially to hear of any developments.”

By Editor