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John Lewis unveils first locations for its built-to-rent homes


The John Lewis Partnership has revealed the primary three locations in Britain where the retailer plans to debut its latest rental properties.

The three proposed sites include buildings over Waitrose shops in Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London, in addition to replacing a vacant John Lewis warehouse in Mill Lane, Reading. 

The department store chain said local people in Bromley and West Ealing will probably be invited to several rounds of public consultation over the approaching months to debate the proposed redevelopment of the Waitrose stores. 

Home heaven? The John Lewis Partnership has unveiled the primary three locations for its ‘built-to-rent’ homes plan

Waitrose stores in Bromley and West Ealing would even be ‘significantly improved as a part of the proposals’, based on the group. 

The John Lewis Partnership confirmed that detailed designs won’t be shown until later within the 12 months ‘to provide residents the chance to shape the plans at this early stage’.

It added: ‘Subject to the feedback received during these consultations, our intention could be to submit planning applications for Bromley and West Ealing next 12 months. A period of public consultation for Mill Lane, Reading, will happen later this 12 months.’

Nina Bhatia, executive director for strategy and industrial development on the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘All the things people love about our brand – quality, trust and repair – we wish to bring to the experience of renting a house with us. 

Your new home? The John Lewis Partnership plans to build above this Waitrose store in West Bromley

Your latest home? The John Lewis Partnership plans to construct above this Waitrose store in West Bromley

‘Our role as developer and operator, in addition to an already established local business and employer, signals our ambition to bring long-term value to every of those communities. 

‘Helping to create homes has at all times been at the center of what we do and we now have a novel opportunity to make use of our expertise and skills in latest ways to deliver much-needed latest housing.’

The partnership’s 80,000-strong workforce, could, it has been reported, be offered discounted rents. 

Based on the retailer, the proposed developments will form a part of the UK’s growing ‘built-to-rent’ property market.

The group wants to spice up standards within the rental market, each via its role as a developer and when managing the buildings as a business. 

It said the proposed homes and developments would ‘offer the trust, quality and repair that individuals expect from John Lewis.’

It added: ‘The homes could be built for various sized households and designed to our high standards. 

‘Residents would have options for brief and long-term tenure and to have the homes furnished by John Lewis. Making a sense of community through incorporating shared spaces and facilities akin to roof gardens and fitness studios and exploring how schemes can play a task in the broader community could be integral to our approach.’

No ground rents will apply as all of the homes will probably be rental properties, a spokesperson for the John Lewis Partnership told That is Money.

Because it branches out farther from retail in a bid to shore up its funds, the John Lewis Partnership plans to deliver 10,000 rental properties across the UK in the subsequent decade. The group wants 40 per cent of its profits to come back from outside of retail by 2030. 

The John Lewis Partnership already owns most of Leckford, a village in Hampshire, where every home with a green door is a partnership property. 

What’s ‘build-to-rent’ and the way does it work?

The John Lewis Partnership is planning on developing homes via the ‘build-to-rent’ model. This implies the properties will probably be rented out quite than sold. 

They’re common in other countries, particularly in Germany, France and the US. 

In most instances, schemes like this typically offer longer tenancy terms and are managed by the owner or operator of the general site. 

With property prices surging, some consider there’s great demand for high-quality rental alternatives. It is believed that build-to-rent may sooner or later fill the void in available rental properties that has been left by landlords quitting the sector following a raft of regulatory and tax changes they’ve endured.

For businesses just like the John Lewis Partnership, the regular rental income coming through is a significant perk of ‘build-to-rent’, because it the mounting value of the bricks-and-mortar asset, or property, itself. 

For prospective tenants, some may find the thought of a single corporate landlord and decent nearby amenities appealing, though tenants should pay attention to all potential costs, charges and costs involved before taking the plunge and choosing a tenancy in a built-to-rent home.

Retail turbulence 

The John Lewis Partnership has been no stranger to its fair proportion of economic woes and turbulence over the previous few years, and is on a mission to ramp up its profits and revenue via other channels.

In March, the John Lewis Partnership said that its 78,000 staff would share a £46million bonus pot, such as 3 per cent of wages for each employee.

The department store scrapped its bonus scheme in the course of the pandemic for the primary time since 1953 as shops were closed and the chain lost tens of millions. John Lewis suffered its first annual loss, of £571million, in 2020.

But, in its last financial 12 months, the group’s underlying profits climbed above the crucial £150million level set because the goal for the return of bonuses.

Ambition: The John Lewis Partnership wants to build 10,000 rental properties over the next decade

Ambition: The John Lewis Partnership wants to construct 10,000 rental properties over the subsequent decade

The retailer shut eight malls in the course of the pandemic and has reduced the variety of employees by around 2,000, including head office jobs. 

The John Lewis department store chain achieved its highest ever sales of £4.93billion within the 12 months to January 29, up 8 per cent like-for-like on last 12 months. Sales at Waitrose hit £7.54 billion, up 1 per cent on a 12 months ago.

The chain’s latest annual profit before exceptional items rebounded to £181million, up 38 per cent. Overall losses before tax fell to £26million, which is £491million higher than the previous 12 months.

The group is now swapping its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ motto for a ‘Quality and Value’ pledge, to be applied each in-stores and online. 

But, with inflation surging and tens of millions of households up and down the UK feeling the squeeze financially, 2022 looks set to be one other tough retailers, and it stays to be seen how the John Lewis’ core arm will shape up for the remaining of the 12 months.

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