Home Case studies The John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership is the UK’s largest employee-owned business and parent company of John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners, which are owned in Trust by over 80,000 Partners. There are 50 John Lewis & Partners shops plus one outlet and 337 Waitrose & Partners shops across the UK. The Partnership also has two international sourcing offices, a soft furnishings factory, various distribution centres, three Waitrose & Partners cookery schools, a content production hub, heritage centre and its own Waitrose & Partners farm.

The Partnership was founded over a century ago by John Spedan Lewis who began an experiment into a better way of doing business by including staff in decision-making on how the business would be run. With 83,500 employee owners – called Partners – the John Lewis & Partners is the UK’s largest employee-owned business.

The commercial strategy of the John Lewis Partnership is differentiation, not scale. It invests in its point of difference of employee-ownership.

Its democratic network of elected councils, committees and forums enables Partners to participate in decision making, challenge management on performance and have a say in how the business is run. The Partnership Council represents all Partners, reflecting their opinion, to ensure the business is run for and on behalf of all Partners. It shares responsibility for the Partnership’s health with the Partnership Board and the Chairman. Its role is to hold the Chairman to account, influence policy and make key governance decisions.

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