John Lewis Partnership, until now best known for its department stores and ownership of Waitrose, is to build homes for rent.
The company has a long term target to secure 40 per cent of its annual income from non-retail activities.
John Lewis will work with developers to build new homes on up to 20 sites already owned by the partnership to provide a “stable income,” with planning applications expected for two sites next year in Greater London.
The properties will fall under the Build To Rent category, and are likely to be managed by an established lettings company.
The furniture in the properties will come from John Lewis stores; food delivery options for tenants will be from Waitrose.
Nina Bhatia, executive director of strategy and commercial development, says: “We’re creating new inspirational services for customers where strong ethical values and peace of mind matter, like reusing and recycling products, personal savings and rented housing.”