Welcome to ‘Interview with an entrepreneur’, a new series where we talk to entrepreneurs and industrialists and delve into their business mind. Today we interview Mr Andy Street who is the Managing Director of John Lewis Partnership, a very large British department store which is owned by it’s employees in a trust.

Waitrose is also owned by John Lewis.   Born in 1963 he attended King Edward’s School in Birmingham and then went on to study at the prestigious Oxford University. He joined John Lewis as a graduate trainee and in 1993 he became the store manager of John Lewis in Milton Keys. Quickly progressing up the corporate ladder he became the supply-chain director in 2000, then in 2002 he became director of personnel and finally Managing Director in 2007. His interests include walking, cinema, theatre and Aston Villa. From 2009-2010 John Lewis had a revenue of £6.74 Billion and employees 76,500 people.

Which department of your store is the most unpredictable to forecast in terms of sales?
Furniture

Is competition increasing more amongst high street retailers or on-line shops?
Online

How do you believe your industry will develop in the next five years?
Those with strong multi-channel capability will win through.

How would you describe your leadership style?
Involving. I am always keen to share key decisions to get the best possible buy in.

Do you believe that all young people who wish to start a business should go through the traditional route of attending university?
Not at all. Some of the best entrepreneurs do not attend university.

What keeps you motivated?
Proving that the John Lewis model is superior than others.

Did you grow up in an entrepreneurial environment?
Not really.

What three pieces of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Always follow your self belief.
2. Appoint the best people around you.
3. Be true to your personal value set.