Former John Lewis managing director Andy Street has spoken out about the partnership’s menswear collection, claiming it does not sell “proper suits any more”.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Street commented on the selection available in John Lewis menswear departments, saying he prefers to visit local tailors over the department store where he was the boss for nine years from 2007-16.
Street, who is now the mayor of West Midlands, also told Bloomberg his thoughts on Dame Sharon White’s plans to convert former JLP warehouses and stores into rented homes in a bid to explore non-retail opportunities.
Street said: “I genuinely don’t know why they’ve decided to do that.”
White has faced recent backlash from employees, as a vote took place earlier this month to determine if her future strategy would be supported by staff.
She was ultimately backed in the second vote, where John Lewis Partnership Council president Chris Earnshaw said: “The council voted in support of the chair to progress the partnership in relation to its purpose, principles and rules.
“The council did not support last year’s performance in which we reported a full-year loss and no partner bonus.”
The retailer reported losses of £234m last year but is increasing efforts to reduce costs by £600m before January 2026.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that John Lewis was looking to sell a minority stake in the business and to end 100% employee ownership to help with its turnaround.
However, during the employee vote, White said: “I want to be absolutely categorical. The John Lewis Partnership will always be an employee-owned business. No ifs, no buts. There’s absolutely no question of demutualisation.”
Street later told The Telegraph: “All that matters is that the right decision was taken by the chairman and her board… I assume that pressure from partners was part of it.
“So, actually I think it is a really good example of the ownership structure at John Lewis encouraging the leadership to take the right decision. It was the right decision, no question.”
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