Three- legged race
Sunday 05 February 1995
Now, however, the proportion is down to 11 per cent. The shares have halved in value in a year. In December, the profit-sharing scheme was axed. And the former glamour stock has fallen from grace, amid boardroom strife, thinning margins and deserting customers. NFC is virtually indistinguishable from a conventional company.
But while NFC is on the hard shoulder with the bonnet up, there is better news from Britain's only other large worker co-op, the John Lewis Partnership retail group. As we report on page 5, Waitrose, its grocery arm, is starting to turn round after a grizzly decade being outwitted by the big quoted supermarket groups.
The annual bonus - the key measure of the health of JLP - is almost certain to be lifted from last year's 10 per cent when it is announced in March. That is good news for the 38,000 employees or "partners". The bonus means £1,000 or more for the humblestshop assistant. But it is also sweet music for Waitrose, whose detractors were writing it off as recently as two years ago.
The pessimists' case was that the company was mortally hampered by its corporate structure. It couldn't raise money on the stockmarket like its competitors, which tapped shareholders to finance the huge expansion of superstores. Decision-making was slowed because of the need to consult staff, hence a snail-like pace of innovation.
It is early days yet, but the performance of the last few months suggests the scoffers are wrong. Waitrose seems to have found a new lease of life. But John Lewis cannot afford to be complacent. Department stores are hardly a growth area. Food retailing will never again enjoy the boom times of the 1980s.
The group would be mad if it weren't thinking about growing a third leg.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Bali Nine executions in Indonesia: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...
£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...