Ipswich: Chairman hails performance of Waitrose and John Lewis at home stores at Futura Park
- Credit: Archant
The chairman of the employee-owned John Lewis Parnership today paid his first visit to its twin Waitrose and John Lewis at home stores in Ipswich.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, whose knighthood was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last week, began by attending a breakfast-time meeting with elected representatives of the “partners” who work at the two stores.
He then spent much of the morning touring the site, during which he was entertained by a performance by a joint choir formed by partners at the stores, before moving on to visit other Waitrose stores at Saxmundham and Newmarket.
“This is the first time we have opened as John Lewis and Waitrose on the same site. I have been very keen to see how it is working, and the results are teriffic,” he said.
“Having the two businesses side-by-side has worked really well for customers. They have both proved very popular, as has the café.”
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Sir Charlie said that, as the John Lewis business was owned by its employees, he always made it a priority to meet with the elected representatives at its stores to hear from them direct how they believe the business is doing.
He said he had been struck by the sense of community he had found among the partners at the two Ipswich stores and believed this was a key factor in the commercial success they had achieved since opening, with a sense of job satisfaction always tending to be reflected in excellent service and, in turn, in customer loyalty.
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Sir Charlie said of his knighthood: “I feel very lucky to be recognised. I am very pleased, but really John Lewis is all about ‘partnership’ and the team-work between partners that involves.”
He added that, at a time when business ethics were under scrutiny, he believed the employee ownership model could become more common, particularly if the Government supported the sector by changing the tax regime which currently penalised entrepreneurs wishing to hand on a business to its employees rather than sell it another company.