John Lewis is tapping into its property portfolio to expand in the housing market.
The British department store chain plans to build 10,000 homes for rent during the next several news, reported The Times. Renters will have the choice of renting a home that is unfurnished or one that is fully furnished with John Lewis products. The rentals will range from houses to studio apartments.
Seven thousand of the 10,000 homes would be on sites that are part of John Lewis’ existing property portfolio, according to the report. The homes could be built in department store car parking lots, above Waitrose supermarkets or next to distribution centers. The company also plans to develop new sites.
This is not the retailer’s first foray into the housing market. It also owns homes in Leckford, a village in Hampshire.
John Lewis operates 42 stores It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, whose other brand is Waitrose, which operates 331 supermarkets and convenience stores across the U.K.
The move comes as John Lewis’ department store retail business has come under increasing pressure. In January, the group recorded the first ever loss in its 157-year history.
John Lewis is also expanding in another non-traditional department category: furniture rental. It recently announced that is expanding its first furniture rental service, doubling the offering to offer over 200 lines. Previously only available in London, the service will now be expanded outside of London.
Customers can rent John Lewis furniture for 12 months at a time, followed by the option to purchase the product with payments already made deducted from the purchase price. The service will be offered via Fat Llama’s ‘Flex Rental’ website and available furniture will be paired to geographical location.