Acquisition, 1944

Pages from the a John Pound catelogue published close to the acquisition
Pages from the a John Pound catelogue published close to the acquisition

Context

On the 18th September 1940, John Lewis Oxford Street was hit by incendiaries in the early hours of the morning. The fire damage was catastrophic. Fortunately, sufficient plans had been cultivated for the continuation of the company in such events. The acquisition of the Selfridges Provincial Stores in 1940 enabled John Lewis to retain their presence. The Oxford Street shop would have to be rebuilt after the war.

Securing a future on Oxford Street

After an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the company in 1935, the John Lewis Partnership acquired John Pound and Company Limited in the autumn of 1944. The Tottenham Court Road and Brompton Road branches were not retained by the Partnership and were sold. The Oxford Street branch of the company was of most relevance, for it immediately adjoined John Lewis. Although had it had also suffered damage and would also have to be rebuilt after the war, the assimilation of this extra premises ensured that John Lewis Oxford Street would return after the War both bigger and stronger. In other words, the Partnership was securing its own future in Oxford St. In the meantime, hugely compressed selling space in John Lewis Oxford Street experienced respite, as several departments including handbag, trunk, umbrella and silverware were all moved to the old John Pound premises.

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