John Lewis home and gifting

Is the John Lewis Partnership for sale? It seems the hallowed mutual status of the partnership is an active discussion within the business, following a leak to the Sunday Times that chairman Sharon White did little to stem in a subsequent LinkedIn post.

The leak has blindsided many partners, not to mention rivals and City sources, because as poor as its results were last week, its financial position is strong, with £1.5bn of cash and short-term investments, undrawn bank facilities of £420m, debt at an all-time low and a grocery business that may not be firing on all cylinders but is hugely cash generative.

Read more: Unpicking the failures that led to Waitrose’s losses

That makes the timing of the leak odd. Days after disclosing heavy losses, and installing another senior exec with zero retail experience, from a private equity background that is completely counter-cultural for JLP, the impression it leaves for shoppers is a business in real crisis. Is the situation really that desperate? It’s not a great vote of confidence in the turnaround plan, is it?