The originator of the UK’s most resolutely middle-class loyalty programme, myWaitrose, thinks the way to return the John Lewis partnership to profit is to stop thinking about short-term results and remember the customer comes first. “It must regain sight of its customers, not just the low-hanging fruit,” Neil Stead tells the Times. This is a dig at Dame Sharon White’s recent flailing for ways to fill a £234 million hole in the JL balance sheet, including a sale of part of the business. White clung on as chair last week after promising to keep the partnership employee-owned, but that £234 million remains a problem. Stead’s secret sauce was free coffee, which drew 9 million members to myWaitrose. Starbucks (net Q1 income up 35 per cent) does better by charging for it. The most expensive Starbucks coffee ever cost $148.99.