Who Owns John Lewis - Company Structure Revealed

Who Owns John Lewis - Company Structure Revealed


John Lewis: A Unique Ownership Structure

John Lewis isn't your typical corporation owned by a single entity or a small group of shareholders. It boasts a unique ownership structure that sets it apart from most retail businesses. Here's a breakdown of who owns John Lewis:

The John Lewis Partnership

John Lewis is a subsidiary of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), a British employee-owned company. Established in 1928, the JLP model emphasizes employee ownership and profit-sharing.

Employee Ownership:

  • Over 83,000 John Lewis employees, known as Partners, collectively own the JLP.
  • This ownership structure fosters a strong sense of community and shared responsibility within the company.
  • Partners directly benefit from the company's success through an annual bonus scheme tied to profits.


  • The JLP is governed by a democratic structure with a Chairman and a Trusteeship.
  • Partners elect representatives to a Partnership Council, which has a say in major decisions.

Benefits of Employee Ownership:

  • Motivation: Partners have a vested interest in the company's success, leading to higher employee engagement and motivation.
  • Customer Service: Partners often take greater pride in their work and provide exceptional customer service.
  • Long-Term Focus: The ownership structure encourages a long-term focus on sustainability and responsible business practices.

Drawbacks of Employee Ownership:

  • Decision-Making: Decision-making processes can be more complex due to the democratic structure.
  • Market Fluctuations: Employee bonuses can fluctuate with company performance.


John Lewis' employee ownership structure is a defining characteristic of the company. This unique model fosters a strong company culture, motivates employees, and contributes to the brand's reputation for excellent customer service. While it has its limitations, John Lewis' ownership structure stands as a successful alternative to traditional corporate ownership models.


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