It’s not just frocks which are seeing a rental boom, with John Lewis announcing today that it will be expanding its first furniture rental service - doubling the range to offer over 200 lines - following last year’s hugely successful trial which partnered with Fat Llama.
From beds to bar stools, the expanded range launching next month will offer some of our best-sellers such as our Rattan Bed Frame, alongside a carefully curated range which reflects the way we live. With an eye to more sociable times ahead, there are sofa-beds to cater for overnight guests, dining tables and, with homeworking set to stay for many, plenty of office chairs to choose from.
Last year’s rental trial saw almost all of the rental collection snapped up within the first 48 hours, highlighting the demand and changing attitude towards renting goods which would previously be bought. 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.
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 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."
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."
Previously only available in London, the service will now be expanded outside of London. 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.
Top Picks for Generation Rent
1. Show Wood Sofa Bed, Topaz Navy, £48 per month
2. ANYDAY Anton 4 Seater Dining Table and 2 Seater Benches, £21 per month
3. Brooks Velvet Office Chair, Rose, £11 per month
4. Swept Armchair, Harriet Orange, £45 per month
5. Hairpin Desk, Dark Oak, £18 per month
Products will be available to rent from 20th July at the Fat Llama Fex website with the starting price from £6 per month.