Our principles

The John Lewis Partnership's Principles define how we run our business. They are as relevant today as they were when they were set out by our founder, John Spedan Lewis, in our Constitution.

Not many companies have a written Constitution. Ours is a framework which defines the Partnership’s seven Principles and the way we should operate, with our ultimate purpose described in Principle 1.


The Partnership's ultimate purpose is the happiness of all its members, through their worthwhile and satisfying employment in a successful business. Because the Partnership is owned in trust for its members, they share the responsibilities of ownership as well as its rewards - profit, knowledge and power.

The video 'Employee Ownership, A Shared Passion', explains how our employee owned business model operates in practice, and offers insight and advice to anyone wanting to learn more about this sort of model and its benefits.

Watch the Employee Ownership, A Shared Passion video (2:45 minutes)


Power in the Partnership is shared between three governing authorities: the Partnership Council, the Partnership Board and the Chairman.


The Partnership aims to make sufficient profit from its trading operations to sustain its commercial vitality and finance its continued development, to distribute a share of those profits each year to its members and to enable it to undertake other activities consistent with its ultimate purpose.

Members (Partners)

The Partnership aims to employ and retain as its members people of ability and integrity who are committed to working together and to supporting its Principles. Relationships are based on mutual respect and courtesy, with as much equality between its members as differences of responsibility permit. The Partnership aims to recognise their individual contributions and reward them fairly.


The Partnership aims to deal honestly with its customers and secure their loyalty and trust by providing outstanding choice, value and service.

Business relationships

The Partnership aims to conduct all its business relationships with integrity and courtesy and to honour scrupulously every business agreement.

The community

The Partnership aims to obey the spirit as well as the letter of the law and to contribute to the wellbeing of the communities where it operates.