John Lewis has always had a reputation for diversifying and expanding into different services; for example in 2016 they joined with rental app “Canopy” to help provide their employees with better credit scores. The app allows for people to have their rent payments recognised within their credit score – something that had been lacking before and shows John Lewis’s legacy of commitment to services for the last 150 years.
This week has seen a letter sent to the 80,000 strong John Lewis staff from the Chairwoman, Sharon White, saying that they are considering turning some of their stores into private rental stock. Finding new uses for land or buildings that have faltered during this Covid crisis, has meant, like many firms, a rethink in the way forward; especially as the UK’s high street declines in favour of superstores. John Lewis have always tended to own the freehold of their stores, rather than rent the buildings or land from landlords.
By working with third party associates, the repurposing of the unused land and building assets, could be put to work towards mixed-use affordable housing. It is unclear whether these considerations will include the management of the apartments themselves, but they already own and run several hotels, as well as a sizeable farm in Hertfordshire.