John Lewis looks at garden centres

Part of Dame Sharon White’s transformation plan for John Lewis includes building a new gardening business,  potentially with new partnerships and acquisitions. 

Dame Sharon White was appointed chairman of John Lewis 13 months ago, having been chief executive of Ofcom and before that second permanent secretary at the Treasury.

She has been updating John Lewis Partners on the progress of her strategic review. 

Strategic review

She is targeting at least £100 million of savings in head office costs and has already reduced the number of senior managers by one third.

John Lewis estate has been under pressure from the rise of online shopping. “As customers increasingly shop online, we will become digital first. We have ‘catch-up’ investments to make in 

“Shops will always be crucial to the brand but they will be in support of online.”

New garden business

Part of the strategy under review is to expand John Lewis into more services.  The most popular suggestion from partners is to build a new business out of ‘Waitrose Garden, Leckford Estate and the Waitrose Farmlandscaping and John Lewis Outdoor Living - potentially with new partnerships and acquisitions.’ 

This is seen as a possible move into garden centres.

The chairman says, “We clearly won’t be able to achieve all this alone. So we will create partnerships with other businesses who respect our ethos and can bring resources or capabilities we don’t have… We are already in a number of commercial discussions and are also looking at acquisitions.”

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