John Lewis to expand furniture rental service
The John Lewis department store is to expand its furniture rental service following last year’s successful trial in London with Fat Llama.
In a statement, the retailer said it will be doubling the range to include over 200 lines.
The expanded range will offer some of the retailer’s existing best sellers, including a rattan bed frame, alongside an extended range of items such as sofas, dining tables, bar stools and office chairs.
During last year’s trial, almost all of the collection was snapped up within the first 48 hours with two thirds of people using the service to furnish rented accommodation and just over a quarter for a recently purchased home. Desks and office chairs were among the most popular items as more people worked from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
John Vary, futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We’re seeing a real shift in consumer behaviour towards usership rather than ownership, the weak signals were already there pre-Covid, with the emergence of car-sharing schemes, hot-desking and services like AirBnB, but the pandemic has turbo-charged this with an almost back-to-the-future move towards sharing, reusing or trading within communities or groups – renting a dress or sofa is the modern day equivalent of borrowing sugar from next door.”
Previously only available in London, the service will now be expanded to outside the capital. Customers will be able to rent the furniture for twelve months at a time and will then have the option to purchase the products with payments already made deducted from the purchase price. The service will be offered via Fat Llama’s ‘Flex Rental’ website and available furniture will be paired to geographical locations.
Nicola Waller, head of buying at John Lewis Home Furnishings, said: “With no need for the dreaded allen key, furniture rental offers quick convenience and all the fun without the commitment, allowing customers to live their bright mustard sofa dream for a year before returning it for someone else to enjoy.
“It is also a sustainable choice for our customers and the expansion of our rental scheme reflects our ambition to offer more sustainable ownership options and forms part of the commitment we made to our customers that all of our John Lewis product categories will have a ‘buy back’ or ‘take back’ solution by 2025.”
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