Retailer John Lewis is reportedly set to construct 10,000 homes for rent over the next few years, largely utilising its existing sites.
Reports in the Sunday Times said the department store chain’s move into the residential property market is being driven by concerns around the national housing shortage. The plans are also expected to give the firm a stable, long term income against the backdrop of a troubled retail market and enable it to provide new job opportunities.
The company has reported that 7,000 of these initial 10,000 homes will be built on its existing property portfolio, and that the new homes will range from studio flats to family houses.
As part of this offering, the company will provide its own products as furnishings if tenants wish, and many of the developments will be mixed-use, utilising John Lewis’ own businesses – for example integrating a Waitrose store into the ground floor of an apartment block.
The first of these developments are expected to be built in south east England, but the company believes there are “opportunities across the country.”
Nina Bhatia, executive director of strategy and commercial development for the John Lewis Partnership, was quoted as saying: “As a business driven by social purpose, we have big ambitions for moving into property rental.”