Retailer vows to double sales by 2017
The John Lewis Partnership is embarking on an aggressive expansion strategy, aiming to create 35,000 jobs and double turnover to£12 billion.

The move will be seen as a major threat to department store rivals Debenhams and House of Fraser, as well as fuelling increasing competition between JLP's Waitrose and rivals Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's.

John Lewis development director Mark Price said: 'We have agreed our commitment to double the sales of the partnership over the next 10 years. 'Our aim is to increase the number of loyal customers we have - both by adding shops and expanding our direct capabilities,' he said.

The group's portfolio is set to grow by at least 10 department stores, as well as significant increases in its Waitrose supermarkets, by 2017.

While some of the high street has struggled in recent months, John Lewis's sales rose by 10 per cent in the run-up to Christmas and have performed strongly since the turn of the year.

After what has been a record-breaking period for the retail giant, the annual results announced within the next two weeks are expected to give its 65,000 employees the best bonuses in decades.

Sir Stuart Hampson, long-standing John Lewis chairman, will be unveiling a report today with environment secretary David Miliband on the subject of co-owned business. The report claims that, where staff are included in decision-making, companies are more productive.

Hampson, who is retiring in March, is to be replaced by Charlie Mayfield, and the implementation of the expansion plan will shape his tenure at the partnership.