Sharon White portrait in Waitrose

Source: Waitrose

Sharon White

Dame Sharon White will step down as chair of John Lewis and Waitrose in 2025 as part of an “orderly succession process”, just weeks after the retailer warned it would take a further two years to complete a turnaround plan she began (The Financial Times £).

White has asked the board of John Lewis – Britain’s biggest department store chain, which also operates Waitrose supermarkets – to start looking for a successor as she will not seek a second term (The Guardian).

Her departure comes two weeks after White was forced to admit that John Lewis’ turnaround plans would take two years longer than initially planned ‘inflationary pressures’ (The Mail).

Not long after Dame Sharon White had announced that she would be stepping down as chairwoman of the John Lewis Partnership, a partner at the retailer lamented that the mood “is quite flat today. People are a bit shocked and sad. She was very popular within the business.” (The Times £).

John Lewis’s next chairman could be part-time after Dame Sharon White asked the partnership to consider changes to the position as she announced plans to step down (The Telegraph £).

An editorial in The Guardian says White is right to signal her exit at John Lewis. “Retail chief’s confused messaging has hinted at self-doubt and panic, even though the group is making reasonable progress,” the paper writes.

The Telegraph (£) disagrees in its editorial and writes that White’s exit isn’t the answer to John Lewis’s deep-rooted problems. “The retailer has turned into a perennial laggard at a time when radical change is needed.”

White’s decision to step down as chairman of John Lewis by early 2025 has triggered an “impassioned response” from readers in The Telegraph (£) as they email to express their views on the move.

UK retail inflation declined to the lowest level in a year in September as food price growth eased sharply to a single-digit rate, industry data showed (The Financial Times £).

Food prices have fallen for the first time in more than two years amid “fierce competition” between supermarkets to attract customers, a new survey shows (The Times £).

The British Retail Consortium said price reductions for dairy, margarine, fish and vegetables and fierce supermarket competition helped to bring down the cost of an average food basket by 0.1% compared with the previous month (The Guardian).

Profits at the owner of Cadbury in Britain more than doubled last year as its sales and market share were boosted by the lifting of Covid restrictions (The Times £).

Rising costs hit annual profits at Walker’s Shortbread, even as the family-owned biscuit manufacturer increased its sales at home and abroad last year (The Times £).