Property boon for Beachcroft as John Lewis announces panel

Beachcroft could be the big winner in retailer John Lewis’s panel shake-up after winning a spot on the panel for the first time.

Beachcroft was appointed to advise on property issues as the company prepares to launch an aggressive expansion programme that will see it increase significantly its 26 department stores and 184 Waitrose supermarkets.

The retail outlet appointed Beachcroft, Eversheds and Pinsent Masons for the first time, but dumped Dechert and Freeman Box, as first revealed on www.thelawyer. com (19 February).

Key adviser Lovells retained its place on the panel, with Eversheds, Pinsents and Travers Smith being handed all-purpose roles. Wragge & Co will handle property litigation for the group.

The panel of firms will advise the John Lewis Partnership and its trading divisions, which include Waitrose supermarkets, John Lewis department stores and its new direct services company Greenbee.

Lovells is a longstanding adviser to John Lewis, having acted for the company on most of the property work that it has outsourced, including the £104m acquisition of 11 Somerfield stores in 2000.

The review, which was led by John Lewis director of legal services Margaret Casely-Hayford, comes as the company moves to create up to 35,000 new jobs by opening 10 new John Lewis stores and a string of Waitrose supermarkets as part of a 10-year expansion plan.