Simon Jones, aged 52, of Beauchief is the proud owner of the title, which is synonymous with quality shopping in Sheffield.
The Cole Brothers department store in Barker’s Pool was renamed John Lewis in 2002. But the old name was kept for some purposes, including business rates.
Now it belongs to a newly-incorporated company, according to documents filed at Companies House.
A John Lewis spokesman said: “We can confirm that the registration is not associated with John Lewis or the John Lewis Sheffield shop.”
The transfer comes as the firm prepares to close the Sheffield shop with the loss of up to 299 jobs.
The bombshell announcement last month caused huge controversy after Sheffield City Council spent millions of pounds encouraging the company to stay.
Earlier this year, the firm posted a £517m loss, blaming it on the pandemic and internet shopping.
A Star reader, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Normally, business names are protected either because you are registered at Companies House or its trade mark is protected. Looks like they’ve let both lapse.
‘They haven’t kept the business name going by keeping it registered at Companies House. And they haven’t protected any trade marks - I can’t find anything on Cole Brothers under their ownership or anyone else's. They haven’t bothered keeping any of the old ‘musical notes’ logos or Jonelle or anything much except Peter Jones it seems.’
Companies House advises that: ‘Incorporating a new company will prevent other businesses from registering the same, or a very similar, company name to yours.’
And: ‘It costs £12 to incorporate a company online and directors are responsible for running the company. This includes the regular filing of documents such as a confirmation statement and annual accounts. Failure to file these documents is a criminal offence.’
Brothers John and Thomas Coles opened a silk mercer and hosier at 4 Fargate, Sheffield, in 1847. Their brother Skelton joined them in the business which grew rapidly. The business had grown so much that in 1869, a rebuild of the stores was commissioned with a new frontage and an extra two stories. By 1898 the business was incorporated.