John Lewis

A chain of high-end department stores operating throughout the United Kingdom.


John Lewis and Partners is a British brand of high-end department stores operating throughout the United Kingdom- with concessions also located in Ireland. From 1925 to 2022 the chain had a policy that it would match a lower price offered by a national high street competitor and this pledge was acclaimed as “Never Knowingly Undersold”.

The first John Lewis store opened in 1864 in Oxford Street, London and there are now thirty-five stores throughout Great Britain. The first John Lewis concession in Ireland opened in a Dublin Arnotts store in October 2016. In the same year, the first Australian John Lewis concession also opened.

On 1 January 2008, the Oxford Street store was awarded a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II as “suppliers of haberdashery and household goods”. John Lewis and Partners Reading is also the holder of a Royal Warrant from Elizabeth II in 2007 as suppliers of household and fancy goods.


The flagship store of John Lewis on Oxford Street- London began as a drapery shop.. opened by John Lewis in 1864. In 1905 Lewis acquired a second store in Sloane Square.

His eldest son John Spedan Lewis began the John Lewis Partnership in 1920. In 1933 the partnership purchased its first store outside London: Jessop and Son in Nottingham. Jessops rebranded itself as John Lewis on 27 October 2002. In 1940 the partnership bought Selfridge Provincial Stores. This group of sixteen suburban and provincial department stores included Cole Brothers in Sheffield- George Henry Lee in Liverpool- Robert Sayle in Cambridge- and Trewin Brothers in Watford.

In 1937 grocery company Waitrose was taken over by John Lewis and now operates as its supermarket arm. In 1949 it was reported that London branches included Peter Jones, John Barnes, John Pound and Bon Marche. The “provincial branches” were Robert Sayle, of Cambridge and Peterborough, Tyrrell and Green, of Southampton and Lance and Lance of Weston-super-Mare. They also had “silk shops” at Edinburgh, Hull and Newcastle upon Tyne.

In 1953, the Reading department store Heelas became part of the John Lewis group, retaining its original name until 2001 when it became John Lewis. That year the partnership also bought textile company Herbert Parkinson. The first John Lewis store constructed as part of a shopping centre was the relocated Jessops which has been in Victoria Centre since it opened in 1972.

The John Lewis Partnership was the first department store group in the UK to adopt central buying, launching the ‘Jonell(e)’ name for own-brand merchandise in 1937. That brand name has gradually been replaced with the ‘John Lewis’ name since 2001. Additional own brands include Collection by John Lewis as well as John Lewis & Co. and Collection Weekend by John Lewis. Several Waitrose own-brand products, such as cleaning materials and party stationery, are also available from John Lewis.

Investment has been made across the group in the twenty-first century. This included the renovation of Peter Jones. The original Oxford Street shop is still the flagship and largest branch in the partnership. A complete refurbishment of the building was completed in late 2007. This introduced the new ‘Place To Eat’ restaurant and a brasserie and bistro in the store. A ‘John Lewis Food Hall from Waitrose’ opened in the shop’s basement on 3 October 2007 and a second Food Hall opened at the John Lewis Bluewater store on 6 August 2009.

In June 2004, John Lewis announced plans to open its first store in Northern Ireland at the Sprucefield Park development, the province’s largest out of town shopping centre. The application was approved in June 2005 and the opening of the new store was scheduled for 2008. On 6 November 2008, it was announced that John Lewis would open their first department store outside the UK in Dublin. The Cardiff store opened in September 2009 and is the Partnership’s only department store in Wales. Stratford opened in 2011 together with a new Waitrose supermarket.

In February 2011, it was announced that John Lewis was appointed as the Official Department Store provider for the London 2012 Olympic Games. that year John Lewis also announced it was to open a department store in Birmingham city centre in 2014. The store was the flagship store for the estimated £100 million development and part of the new Grand Central shopping centre built on the south side of a redeveloped Birmingham New Street railway station.

In July 2011, John Lewis announced that it would be opening ten new stores under a new smaller format in city centre locations. The new smaller format department stores will hold John Lewis’s core lines of Home, Electrical and Fashions, all tailored to the local area. It was then announced that John Lewis would be the anchor tenant of a new development scheme in Leeds. The Eastgate Quarters scheme was approved in July 2011.

In 2014, John Lewis announced its intention to anchor a £1bn extension of the Westfield London shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush. The store opened in March 2018. The following year John Lewis purchased 129–133 North Street in Brighton and in November 2016 initiated their internal resource-led Project to increase profitability across several product ranges.

A new store in Cheltenham opened in 2018 in the former Beechwood Shopping Centre andJohn Lewis underwent rebranding to become John Lewis and Partners. Waitrose underwent a similar rebranding. John Lewis then opened a store in Chelmsford, Essex following which the remodelled Westgate Shopping Centre reopened in Oxford. On 21 March 2020, however, John Lewis announced that it would temporarily close stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had a substantial impact on John Lewis and in 2021 the company reported losses of £517million for the previous year.

In February 2022, John Lewis announced that later in the year it would end its “never knowingly undersold” pledge to match prices on branded products from other national high street retailers. The policy began in 1925. The pledge, which does not apply to internet purchases, was said by the company’s representatives to be becoming less relevant in an increasingly online market.


Over a hundred years ago John Spedan Lewis began an experiment into a better way of doing business by including staff in decision making on how the business would be run. He set out the principles for how the Company should operate and produced a written Constitution to help Partners understand their rights and responsibilities as co-owners. Spedan Lewis wanted to create a way of doing business that was both commercial, allowing it to move quickly and stay ahead in a highly-competitive industry, and democratic, giving every Partner a voice in the business they co-own. This combination, so ahead of its time, continues to make the department store what it is today.


For over 100 years, John Lewis Partnership has set out to be a force for good. While that principle is alive within its business today, the brand continues envisioning to make sufficient profit to create a Partnership that is fairer and more sustainable for all partners, customers, suppliers and communities they serve.

Its Purpose promise “Working in Partnership for a Happier World” is not just a slogan. It is a deeply rooted and unshakable commitment that acts as a guide, inspires all its principles and influences every decision it makes. Always striving to make the world a better and happier place for everyone and everything its business touches.

Leadership team

Nish Kankiwala (CEO)
Nina Bhatia (Executive Director, Strategy and Commercial Development)
Shawn White (Chairman)
Rita Clifton (Deputy Chairman)
Bérangère Michel (Executive Director, Finance)

Products and Services

The chain of department store retails menswear- womenswear- home and garden- electrical- groceries and many more things that ease daily living.

Awards and recognition

On 1 January 2008, the Oxford Street store was awarded a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II as “suppliers of haberdashery and household goods”. John Lewis and Partners Reading is also the holder of a Royal Warrant from Elizabeth II in 2007 as suppliers of household and fancy goods.