Published: 13:36, 23 June 2021
| Updated: 13:49, 23 June 2021
John Lewis is expanding its furniture rental service next month - after the first trial sold out in 48 hours.
The department store is doubling its range to over 200 lines, offering everything from beds and bar stools to hire from the retailer for 12 months.
Last year's rental trial, in partnership with hire website Fat Llama, saw the entire collection snapped up within two days.
Among the most popular items last year were desks and office chairs as households attempted to re-purpose rooms for home-working because of coronavirus restrictions. More than a quarter of those who rented items from John Lewis last year were buying home office furniture, while others were using the service to acquire furniture for rented accommodation.
John Vary from 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 outside of the capital, when the next range of stock is put up for hire on July 20.
Customers will be able to rent John Lewis furniture for 12 months at a time, followed by the option to purchase the product with payments already made deducted from the purchase price. Prices include an £11 a month Brooks Velvet Office Chair, a Hairpin Desk in Dark Oak for £18 a month, up to £48 a month for a Show Wood sofa bed in Topaz Navy.
The service will be offered via Fat Llama’s Flex Rental website and available furniture will be paired to geographical location.
Nicola Waller, Head of Buying at John Lewis Home Furnishings, "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."
Retailers are coming under increasing pressure to offer customers more sustainable options when it comes to buying clothes and furniture.
In May, Swedish furniture brand Ikea launched a furniture buy-back scheme enabling people to make money from their unwanted furniture that is then sold-on again in dedicated sections of its stores.