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John Lewis’ outgoing chairman predicts return to profit this year

By Rachel Douglass


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Sharon White Credits: John Lewis Partnership

Sharon White, the outgoing chairman of John Lewis Partnership, has said that the retail group is expected to return to profit this year, despite previously stating that its turnaround plan was to take longer than expected.

White, who announced her intention to step down from the company in October 2023, told employees in a video message seen by Retail Gazette that they should be prepared for “quite big changes and quite bold changes”.

She continued: “There’s been an awful lot of change over the past year. But those efforts are starting to show themselves in our commercial performance.

“We are converting more of our sales into return to partners, and we will more than break even this year, which is a great start as we build back to sustainable profit for the business.”

White’s comments come just days after media began speculating about potential impending job cuts at the retailer after it was understood that redundancy payouts had been slashed as part of the ongoing turnaround plan.

In an internal memo seen by The Telegraph, John Lewis, which recorded a 234 million pound loss last year, said it was set to half its two-week redundancy pay per year of service policy to make it “more affordable” and to “free up cash”.

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