John Lewis UK (John Lewis plc) is Britain's favourite retailer, as shown by independent surveys.
John Lewis UK
John Lewis UK (John Lewis plc) is the non-grocery retail branch of the John Lewis Partnership. John Lewis UK is more colloquially, and descriptively, referred to as John Lewis department store, a term we will now adopt.
John Lewis Department Store
Most Britons now recognise John Lewis plc as the UK's only true department store. If you are looking for a variety of personal and household goods, John Lewis is often the only one-stop high street shopping outlet in which you will find them.
John Lewis UK was Britain's most successful store over Christmas/New Year 2009/2010. It took more than £500m in the five weeks to January 2, and sales growth was much stronger for John Lewis UK than for any other store.1 Waitrose, the food arm of John Lewis UK, was the fastest-growing food retailer over the festive season.
In January, 2010 John Lewis UK was named Britain's favourite retailer for a
the third year in a row by Verdict, the retail research group. John Lewis's winning formula
may be down to it being owned by its 69,000 staff, who receive an annual bonus based on
profits. The more effort they make, the more profits John Lewis UK makes, and
all the staff become more successful owners!
In tough years, like 2009, people are more likely to rise to challenges if the shop they own is at risk. As they rake in the profits, it is not surprising that John Lewis staff get paid more than similar staff in other department stores. This means John Lewis UK can attract better staff, who also have a greater incentive to take pride in what they do.
This helps John Lewis department store deliver strong customer service. Another attraction to customers is the promise never to be "knowingly undersold" by rivals. In 2009 John Lewis UK held customers' trust as the UK went through a deep recession. Like every department store, they had a very difficult first half of the year, but customers knew quality of product, price, and service would be maintained, so when things got better customers came back. It probably helped that John Lewis were not beholden to the City and the pursuit of short term profit.
In 2009 John Lewis opened a new department store in Cardiff, and a home furnishings outlet in Poole, to great success, so much so that 50 new home and electrical stores are planned. The introduction of the Waitrose value range - essentials - also contributed to a sales surge.
John Lewis plc
The formal, unambiguous name of the corporate entity we are informally calling John Lewis UK or John Lewis Department Store, in this article, is John Lewis plc, that is, John Lewis public limited company.
In the United Kingdom, a plc is a limited liability company that can offer shares to the public. The public's liabilities are limited to these shareholdings, that is, their personal assets are not at risk if the company goes bust.
John Lewis plc is often referred to as John Lewis Partnership, sometimes mistakenly, but the distinctions between John Lewis Partnership and John Lewis plc are best left to another essay.
 John Lewis UK set retail pace, Financial Times, January 16 2010