John Lewis home and gifting

Top story

The John Lewis Partnership is weighing up plans to dilute its 100% employee ownership in a bid to raise new investment in the face of difficult trading.

Chairman Sharon White is reported to be in the early stages of exploring a potential change to the group’s mutual structure to allow it to raise between £1bn and £2bn.

The company would only consider selling a minority stake, maintaining a majority employee stake, and would invest in better technology, data analysis and the Waitrose supply chain, according to The Sunday Times.

John Lewis has not issued a statement or provided comment on the report.

It follows warnings of potential staff cuts last week when the group reported a second consecutive annual loss as it battled inflation and declining sales.

JLP also failed to pay a staff bonus for the second year in a row – and only the second time since 1953 – as a result of the £234m loss.

White apologised to employees for the lack of a bonus and said the group needed to become “more efficient and productive”.

She added that the group had to make a “catch-up investment” and modernise “at greater pace” following rapid expansion of its store base between 2000 and 2015.

“Looking ahead, the external environment is no less uncertain,” White said. “Even as headline inflation is starting to fall, the Partnership is still seeing costs rise.

“The mantra for the year is cost out, margins up and customer focus.”

Morning update

The FTSE 100 has sunk more than 1% this morning to 7,256.14pts as fears over the global banking system continued to haunt markets.

Fallers in fmcg included THG, down 4.9% to 51.9p, Deliveroo, down 4% to 84.5p, and Fever-Tree Drinks down 2% to 1,023.7p.

Risers included Finsbury Food, up 1% to 97p, and Diageo, up 0.7% to 3,497.5p.

This week in the City

This week looks much quieter on the markets for food and drink.

Finsbury Food Group posts first-half figures tomorrow.

Fever-Tree is set to report annual results on Wednesday.

Drinks group C&C is due to release a trading update on Thursday, while General Mills issues its latest quarterly figures in the US.

On Friday, pub group JD Wetherspoon files interims, GfK puts out its monthly consumer confidence index and the ONS provides the latest retail sales data.