Eight things we learnt from Dame Sharon’s memo
1. Empty stores to become housing: without doubt the most striking aspect of the memo was the idea to turn vacant department stores into mixed-use affordable housing, with John Lewis as landlord. As the partnership eyes cuts to its shop estate, Dame Sharon said it wants to “put excess space to good social use”.
2. Two areas Dame Sharon flagged for growth were the company’s horticulture and financial services divisions. John Lewis already runs the Leckford Estate in Hampshire, which has a farm shop and plant nursery.
3. John Lewis expects online sales to account for 60pc of revenues post-Covid. Stores will “support online” and focus on showcasing goods available on the web.
4. The partnership still plans to push ahead with the review of its long-standing price pledge, “Never Knowingly Undersold”.
5. John Lewis will still stay true to its “traditional strengths” with a new focus on home and nursery products.
6. With a renewed focus on the environment, Dame Sharon said clearer information about the origins of products and supply chains will be given to help customers shop “sustainably”.
7. John Lewis products will be made available in Waitrose stores, including homeware. John Lewis is also considering “creating a market-leading channel for rental of our products, or building a marketplace to sell ‘used’ products”.
8. New Waitrose stores will be opened where there is strong demand.