John Lewis expands furniture rental service

John Lewis has announced plans to expand its furniture rental service, doubling the range to offer more than 200 lines.

The retailer partnered with peer-to-peer rental platform Fat Llama for a trial last year.

The service was previously only available in London but will now be extended to outside of the capital.

In 2020, the trial saw almost all of the rental collection snapped up within the first 48 hours.

Two thirds of those using the service were furnishing rented accommodation and just over a quarter had recently bought their homes.

Desks and office chairs were among the top rental picks as lockdown saw customers repurposing rooms for home-working.

The expanded range will launch this month.

Customers will be able to rent John Lewis furniture for twelve months at a time, followed by the option to purchase the product 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 location.

"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," said John Vary, partner and futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership.

Nicola Waller, partner & 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."

She added: "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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