Paula Nickolds, who has been with the employee-owned retailer since 1994, is leaving just three months after Waitrose managing director Rob Collins also resigned after a major restructuring.
John Lewis Partnership Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield is also resigning, having announced his departure in November 2018, and will be replaced next month by the outgoing Ofcom director. Sharon white.
Ms. Nickolds’s departure comes as department stores revealed a 2 percent drop in comparable sales in the seven weeks through Jan.5. She declined to comment.
She was supposed to become the new CEO of brand, overseeing both divisions of the association, in a newly created position due to take over in February.
Sir Charlie said: “After reflecting a bit on the responsibilities of her proposed new role, we have decided together that the implementation of the future partnership structure in February is the right time for her to move forward and she will leave the partnership with our gratitude and Best wishes for the future.
“Throughout the year, we expect earnings at Waitrose & Partners to be in line with last year. At John Lewis & Partners we will reverse the losses incurred in the first half of the year, but the benefits will be substantially lower than last year. Therefore, we expect the company’s earnings before special items to be significantly lower than last year. “
He added: “The association board will meet in February to decide whether it is prudent to pay an association bond.
“The decision will be influenced by our level of profitability, planned investment and maintaining the strength of our balance sheet.”
In March of last year, the company revealed that staff bonuses for the employee-owned retailer would be just 3 percent of annual salary, the lowest level since 1953, after profits fell 45.4 percent. just £ 160 million.
Gross sales in the association in the seven weeks to January 4 were down 1.8 percent compared to last year to £ 2.2 billion. Waitrose experienced a 1.3 percent drop in sales due to store closings, but was up 0.4 percent like-for-like.
But at John Lewis there was a 2.3 percent drop in sales, or 2 percent like-for-like, with sales of electrical products and home furnishings falling sharply. They fell 4 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, compared to a year ago.
Sir Charlie added: “We saw significant variation in demand levels, with Black Friday sales increasing 10 percent in the equivalent period last year, followed by more subdued demand in the following weeks.”
But most worrying for the employee-owned business is the collapse of profits in society, and the president warned that “profits will be substantially lower than last year.”
There was some growth, with beauty product sales up 4.7 percent and fashion 0.1 percent, while Waitrose’s online ordering and basket sizes were up 23 percent across all seven. days leading up to Christmas compared to last year.
However, John Lewis was only able to achieve a 1.4 percent increase in online sales, which means that the group as a whole saw an online rally of 16.7 percent overall.
In response to the news, Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics, said: “Edgar excitable It did little to boost holiday sales, with non-food products falling and a dismal performance in the online business, which showed little sign of growth.
“The moment after Black Friday may have ultimately been the destructive force at play. Consumers appear to have advanced gift purchases to take advantage of deep discounts at the expense of the Christmas trade. “
John Lewis and Waitrose have had a rough few years, with former bosses Andy Street and Mark Price leaving at similar times. Both have pursued their careers in politics.
Ms. Nickolds joined John Lewis in 1994 and rose through the ranks to the position of Managing Director.
Last October, in an important review of the business structure, she became known as the new brand manager for both companies, with Waitrose the boss, Mr. Collins, is also retiring.
The £ 100 million cost-cutting exercise also saw the elimination of 75 of the 225 head office positions as the company tried to recover from its first semi-annual loss in September.