The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is on a big diversity drive but it’s probably not the one you were thinking of when you read that headline, though of course it has made promises in that respect too.
Instead, it’s looking to branch out from retail to residential housing and financial products over the next five years.
Yes, it is a big change from John Lewis and Waitrose stores – and here’s where it makes sense.
High streets were already dying before the pandemic; coronavirus just sped up the move to online. John Lewis is no exception – it too has announced huge job cuts in response to the current crisis and no doubt has been looking at ways to consolidate its business where it can.
And that’s where the residential element comes in. The partnership said it has identified 20 sites it owns – presumably currently housing a John Lewis or a Waitrose – that could be turned into “built to rent” homes.
It plans to furnish the homes with John Lewis Home products and provide food deliveries from Waitrose. And although it hasn’t said, I imagine it will offer some sort of extra incentive for its tenants to shop at JLP – at least that’s what I would do to sweeten the deal.
Essentially JLP will be repurposing a possibly loss-making product into one that could potentially be quite lucrative and then adding extra value on top of it.
As part of its expansion, it will also make a foray into savings products and insurance, including (of course) home insurance.
I mention this expansion not necessarily because it might affect you personally, but because I thought it was a really fantastic example of thinking outside the box to diversify your income portfolio.
With rising unemployment, and a mismatch between those out of work and those hiring, we could all think outside the box a little and see how else we could make things work.