John Lewis rejects rumours of Waitrose takeover talks with Amazon

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Waitrose plastic

The John Lewis Partnership has outright denied rumours that it met with Amazon last year to hold takeover talks for Waitrose.

It comes after a Sunday Times report suggested that an Amazon director had reached out to a John Lewis Partnership director in November for talks over a potential sale of the latter’s Waitrose business.

In response, the partnership’s chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield rebuffed the story and sought to end the rumours.

“These times are ripe for speculation, there has been no approach to the partnership by Amazon regarding Waitrose, and nor would I expect there to be,” he said.

The John Lewis Partnership added that if any contact that had occurred between the two firms, it would not have been about a potential takeover but had been made in the normal course of business.

Retail analysts have previously predicted that Amazon may eventually acquire an established UK grocery chains to beef up its physical store presence in the country.

The predictions were based on Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.4 billion (£10 billion) last year, which gave the online retail giant a network of over 450 stores in North America.

In the UK, Amazon’s physical store presence is restricted to the seven Whole Foods it operates in London.

It also launched its Amazon Fresh delivery service for food and groceries two years ago.

The John Lewis Partnership has owned Waitrose since 1937.

However, the partnership model of the business means the upmarket grocer is owned by its staff, just as it is with the eponymous department store chain, and any possible sale would most likely create controversy.

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