Waitrose MD takes role at John Lewis Partnership

Waitrose chief Mark Price is new partnership vice-chairman. Picture: PA
Waitrose chief Mark Price is new partnership vice-chairman. Picture: PA
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WAITROSE boss Mark Price has been handed an extra role – as deputy chairman of the parent company that has been his employer for the past 31 years.

Price will succeed David Barclay in the deputy’s role at John Lewis Partnership while continuing as managing director of the upmarket grocer.

He took up the top role at Waitrose in 2007 having joined John Lewis in 1982 as a graduate trainee handling electrical goods at its Tyrrell & Green department store in Southampton.

The appointment will make Price a prime candidate to take over from Charlie Mayfield as chairman at some point down the line.

Mayfield yesterday heaped praise on his new deputy, saying: “In his 31 years with the partnership, Mark has worked across John Lewis, Waitrose and group roles and is well placed to take on this additional leadership role at a partnership level as we continue to grow our business.”

Under Price’s tenure, Waitrose has expanded significantly including a push into Scotland, with stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. A branch is due to open soon in Helensburgh.

Mayfield added: “David Barclay has made a hugely important contribution to the partnership board and its committees. Having joined as one of our first non-executive directors in 2006, he became deputy chairman in 2007 and has played a key role in establishing our non-executive directors as an essential part of the board.”

Barclay will remain on the partnership board until the end of February.

The key appointment came as new figures showed that sales at the department store business had dipped by 1.2 per cent, year-on-year, in the week to 20 July, hit by the recent hot weather. It follows an 8.7 per cent slide the week before.

Waitrose yet again benefited from the heatwave, with sales, excluding petrol, jumping 14.3 per cent last week.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “The John Lewis/Waitrose sales continue to reflect the mixed impact that the fine weather has had on retail sales.”