John Lewis is one of the largest British department store chains, with 29 full-line stores and 8 John Lewis Home stores. The flagship store, located on Oxford Street in London, remains the fashion chain's largest volume door. In the year ended 28 January 2012, John Lewis had sales revenues of £3.3 billion (approximately $5.2 billion USD).
John Lewis department stores is owned by the John Lewis Partnership, a group of roughly 81,000 employees. The JL Partnership also owns the Waitrose supermarket chain, which has close to 300 stores in the UK, and 2012 revenues of £5.4 billion (approximately $8.5 billion USD). Under the John Lewis department store umbrella is another high-end London department store also founded in the 1800's, called Peter Jones. It is the only acquisition (purchased by John Lewis in 1905) which has retained its original nameplate. All other department store acquisitions have been consolidated to the John Lewis store name.
The original founder of the company, John Lewis, opened his first store, a drapers shop, on Oxford Street in 1864. His eldest son, John Spedan Lewis (born 1885), became involved with the family business at a young age and not long after his 21st birthday, was named general manager of Peter Jones. It was the younger John Lewis who originated the idea for a partnership concept, whereby employee morale and job performance would reach its highest level if the employees had an interest in the ownership and financial performance of the company. It first went into effect in 1928 and in 2959, a second trust agrement was signed by John Spedan Lewis legally turning ownership of the company over to the John Lewis Partnership.
The John Lewis department store chain of today is well respected as one fo the best High Street retailers in the UK. This is evidenced by the long list of awards it has received, such as being voted Britain's Favourite Retailer four years straight from 2008-2011, the 2011 Ecommerce Award for Excellence as the Best Multichannel Retailer, the 2011 Draper's Etail Award for Best Multichannel Retailer and Best Etailer of the Year, and the 2011 InStyle Online Beauty Awards for Best Online Department Store.
If you happen to be from the United States, Canada or elsewhere outside of Europe, and are not familiar with John Lewis stores, they would be the British equivalent of America's Macys department store chain.
John Lewis offers an upscale merchandise assortment within all departments, namely women's clothing, women's shoes and accessories, women's jewellery and watches, men's apparel, men's shoes and accessories, men's watches, children's clothing, home decor and furnishings, bedding, appliances, electronics and computers, and gifts. The online store, JohnLewis.com, carries over 180,000 different products.