John Lewis confirms move into housing market
Home from home: John Lewis diversifying
John Lewis has confirmed plans to move into the residential property market with a target of building 10,000 homes for rent over the next few years.
The department store chain said it wanted to address the national housing shortage and support local communities.
The company first announced plans to move into housing last October when it said it had identified 20 sites that it owned that could provide affordable housing and a stable income for the Partnership.
Entering the ‘build to rent’ market would allow the firm to furnish properties using John Lewis Home products and deliver Waitrose food, it said at the time.
Daily Business report last October on company’s plans
Nina Bhatia, executive director of strategy and commercial development, said: “The Partnership Plan sees our business continuing to adapt rapidly to changing shopping habits, getting closer to customers online and in-store. We’ll also expand in new areas where we believe our values can be a force for good.”
This weekend, she confirmed the plan, saying: “As a business driven by social purpose, we have big ambitions for moving into property rental.”
The company said 7,000 of the initial 10,000 homes would be on sites in its existing property portfolio, ranging from studio flats to houses. Some homes could be built on entirely new sites.
Some homes could be built in department store car parks, above Waitrose supermarkets or next to distribution centres.
The first John Lewis homes are planned for south-east England, but the partnership said it believed there were opportunities across the country.
Since February 2020, the chain has closed about a third of its stores, leaving it with 35.