Retailing: Partners in Sales

Managers of many London department stores begin their week by checking their store's performance against the figures of the John Lewis chain of 16 stores scattered throughout Britain. What they see is usually discouraging. Only the fourth-largest company in department stores, but long the leader in profitability, John Lewis is doing better than ever.

During the past decade, while British department stores share of retail trade was shrinking, John Lewis' sales rocketed 130%, to $154 million in 1966. Sales are up another 7% and profits up 40% in the first half of this year. In household goods and dress materials no...

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