One of the highlights of my visit to the John Lewis Partnership was touring its Peter Jones department store, a glass-walled shopping emporium on Sloane Square in the Chelsea neighborhood of London. I’ll confess that I’m a fan of magnificent department stores: the Marshall Field’s in Chicago, where my grandmother took me as a child, and whose elegant green boxes appeared under our Christmas tree every year; the old Dayton’s in Minneapolis, where to stride through its aisles was to feel the riches of the world at your fingertips (yes, I know, consumerist excess and all that: more on that point in a moment). Walking into Peter Jones in London, one has that same feeling of abundance. The oval ...

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