John Lewis expands major furniture service following ‘successful’ trial – ‘game changer’

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John Lewis has announced that it is expanding its first ever furniture rental service, doubling the range to offer over 200 lines. It follows last year’s hugely successful trial which partnered with Fat Llama.

Renting items, from clothing to furniture has become increasingly popular in recent years, with people more conscious of the environment.

From beds to desks to bar stools, John Lewis will expand its service, launching next month. 

Last year’s trial saw almost all of the rental collection snapped up within the first 48 hours.

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

John Vary, Partner & Futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership said: “We’re seeing a real shift in consumer behaviour towards usership rather than ownership, the weak signal were already there pre-Covid, with the emergence of car-sharing schemes, hot-desking and services like AirBnB, but the pandemic has turbo-changed 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.”

Nicola Waller, Partner & Head of Buying at John Lewis Home Furnishings added: “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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Previously only available in London, the service will also be expanded outside of London.

Customers can rent John Lewis furniture for twelve months at a time, followed by the option to purchase the product with payments already deducted from the purchase price.

It allows customers to try before they buy, as well as helping them to spread the cost out if they plan on buying it after.

The service will be offered via Fat Llama’s Flex Rental website and available furniture will be paired to geographical location.

For example, a sofa bed can be rented for £48 a month, while a dining table is just £21 per month.

Office chairs are also available as well as armchairs.

Products will be available to rent from July 20, with prices starting from just £6 a month.

Taking to Twitter to share their thoughts, one customer called it a “game changer” while another said it was “very useful”.

In partner news, Waitrose recently announced it would be launching more products as part of its refillable scheme, including loose tea for the first time.

Popcorn is also on offer as well as dried flirts and a frozen selection of fruit and vegetables.

It aims to reduce plastic packaging and encourages customers to bring their own containers.

Marija Rompani, Partner & Director of Ethics & Sustainability, Waitrose, said: “We are really beginning to find some momentum with customers demonstrating that this is how they might be prepared to shop with us in the future and we are especially encouraged by the response to moving the concept in-asile to make it more of the norm when visiting us. 

“We know there is much more work to do, but the reaction of customers right now is giving us the confidence to continue moving forward with Unpacked.”

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