Retailer and Marketing WAM member, John Lewis, has announced plans to diversify the group’s offering with a move into the build-to-rent housing market.
Faced with declining profits from in-store retail, John Lewis Chair, Sharon White revealed that she planned to see the employee-owned retailer generate up to 40% of profits from other services, including property and financial services products.
In unveiling its ambitions to diversify, John Lewis revealed it plans to focus on providing high-quality rental properties, furnished with its own lines, in the communities around its stores. White said:
We’ve identified 20 sites we own that could be used to benefit local communities by providing quality and sustainable housing while providing a stable income for the Partnership.
“We’ll make planning applications for two of these in the new year in greater London.
“Entering the ‘build to rent’ market also allows us to furnish properties using John Lewis Home products and deliver Waitrose food.
“We’re a landlord already at three of our properties so this is an obvious extension for us. And we’re now talking to developers and investors who can help us achieve our ambitions.”
In the face of declining footfall in its stores, and rise of online retail, the diversification of the brand’s offering to build-to-rent is part of Sharon White’s strategy to turn around the retailer over the next five years, and grow John Lewis annual profits to £400 million.