Department store John Lewis has announced it is to venture into the residential property sector by converting its shop car parks into rental properties across the UK.
The news comes as the department store brand reveals it is to cut 1,000 jobs from its Waitrose and John Lewis stores, as part of a store management shake-up, and the closure of eight stores earlier in the year, according to BBC News.
Over the next ten years, approximately 10,000 John Lewis homes are to be built on sites that include plots above Waitrose supermarkets and next to distribution centres. The employee-owned firm said the plans draw on its ‘social purpose’, and are an effort to address the housing shortage in the UK.
John Lewis executive director of strategy and commercial development Nina Bhatia said: “As a business driven by social purpose, we have big ambitions for moving into property rental to address the national housing shortage and support local communities.”
“It will also provide a stable, long-term income for [the] partnership, new employment opportunities for our partners and plays to our strength as a trusted brand known for strong service.”
According to the Sunday Times, the retailer has identified space for 7,000 of the 10,000 new rental properties across its existing property portfolio. However, the company said that some of the homes will be built on new sites, and it plans to submit planning applications in 2022.
The first John Lewis homes are planned for southeast England and will range from studio flats to four-bedroom houses.
However, the company is confident there will be opportunities for homes to be built across the country due to the extent of the housing crisis, which is seeing property prices skyrocket nationwide.
Future residents of a John Lewis home will be able to use their own furnishings or hire furniture from the retailer as part of their rent.
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