Department store chain would develop majority on own sites as it moves into Build to Rent market

John Lewis Partnership is planning to build 10,000 homes for rent over the next few years as it seeks to diversify its income from retail.

The chain of department stores believes it can build 7,000 homes on its own sites, with the rest on new plots.

The co-operative believes the move can also help it meet a “strong social purpose” by helping to address the housing supply crisis.

John Lewis Partnership in March said it expects 40% of its profit to come from non-retail activity, including housing but this is the first time the company has confirmed a figure for the number of homes it expects to build.

The first homes are planned for the south east of England but are eventually expected to be provided across the country.

Nina Bhatia, executive director, strategy and commercial development at John Lewis Partnership, 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.

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“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.”

John Lewis Partnership in 2019 said it had identified 20 sites for potential residential development.