Retailer and Marketing Stockport member, John Lewis, has revealed plans to enter the build-to-rent property market as the group seeks to diversify.
Entry into the property sector is part of the group’s new plans to expand the business into new areas in the face of declining high street profits. John Lewis Chair, Sharon White, unveiled the strategy, announcing plans to generate up to 40% of the employee-owned business’ profits from non-retail products, including build-to-rent property and financial services.
The retailer has plans to focus planning applications close to its stores across the UK to provide high-quality homes for its communities, which can be furnished with John Lewis products. 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.