John Lewis Appoints A CEO As Department Store Chain Struggles With Cost-Of-Living Crisis

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  • John Lewis of Hungerford plc (LON:JLH) appoints former chief executive of Hovis to a new role of CEO at the partnership
  • It’s hoped the appointment of Nish Kankiwala will help drive profitability at the struggling department store chain.

John Lewis Appoints Nish Kankiwala As CEO

The appointment of Nish Kankiwala is designed to inject more energy into the pursuit of profits. The annual bonus for partners is at risk with the chances of the partnership escaping a loss for the full year unlikely. The cost-of-living crunch has bitten hard into disposable incomes, and surging input costs at Waitrose has added to difficulties.

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Sharon White, as chairman, is still the steady hand on the tiller guiding the chain through some turbulent retailer waters. But it’s clear there needs to be a razor-sharp focus on fresh lines of revenue particularly with the plan to turn great swathes of the real estate footprint into housing.

This appointment will shake up decision making at the top of John Lewis, but it doesn’t signal the end of the partnership model and the company has reinforced that message in communication today.

Abolishing the partnership model would not only damage the John Lewis brand but also risks lowering productivity and staff moral levels, which would be far from welcome at a time when there is already a fight for talent in the labour market.

Article by Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown