Oliver Shah

Sunday Times

The potential sale of a stake in the John Lewis Partnership, which has been 100 per cent owned by its staff for more than 70 years, was one of the biggest business stories of the year.

John Lewis and Waitrose occupy a special place in British shoppers’ hearts; the poet John Betjeman once joked that when the end of the world came, he wanted to be in the haberdashery department of John Lewis’s store in Chelsea “because nothing unpleasant could ever happen there”. Much of that affection is based on the retail group’s unusual mutual ownership. The prospect of radical change to that structure piled pressure on John Lewis’s chairwoman, Dame Sharon White, and underlined the dire state of trading on the high street. The Sunday Times's exclusive was picked up around the world and is still raised whenever John Lewis bosses are interviewed.

Another big story came when the government pushed back a raft of 2030 net-zero deadlines, including the cut-off date for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. The announcement will have come as no surprise to readers of The Sunday Times business section, which predicted that it would happen six months in advance.

Investigations have always been at the heart of our business coverage. The third submission in this package was an in-depth look at allegations of a negative culture at the £500 billion fund management giant Abrdn. It revealed that a stream of senior staff had left after aggressive behaviour by its boss, Stephen Bird, that some felt crossed the line between forceful management and bullying. “I’m even afraid to use the word, but there’s real fear,” said one.