Major high street brand the John Lewis Partnership has moved a step closer to entering the property market in an effort to diversify its business away from dependence on the retail sector.
John Lewis has signed a £500 million deal with investment company abrdn to build 10,000 new homes over a decade.
The first properties will be built in Bromley, Ealing and Reading. The London sites will involve converting existing Waitrose stores to provide the homes, along with new improved shop units. All the sites were selected for their central locations and good transport links.
A key selling point is that the homes will be kitted out by John Lewis with furniture, fittings and appliances. According to partnership, tenants can also expect the store’s high levels of service.
Nina Bhatia, executive director for strategy and commercial development at the John Lewis Partnership said: “Our partnership with abrdn is a major milestone in our ambition to create much-needed quality residential housing in our communities.
“Our residents can expect homes furnished by John Lewis with first-rate service and facilities. The move underlines our commitment to build on the strength of our brands to diversify beyond retail into areas where trust really matters.”
The deal follows the announcement by John Lewis earlier in the year, of its intention to develop a residential property portfolio. It comes as the cost of renting and demand for properties has risen steeply over the past three years.
Neil Slater, of abrdn, said: “The critical lack of quality rental accommodation in the UK needs to be addressed, so we are delighted to partner with the John Lewis Partnership to provide the required institutional investment.”
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