As part of its strategy to expand beyond shops and online into new and enhanced services, John Lewis & Partners has announced plans to expand its offering, so it now not only furnishes homes but also extends and renovates them.
John Lewis already runs a booking site for tradespeople, Home Solutions, and last year, acquired home improvement firm, Opun. However, today it revealed plans to bring the two home improvement services businesses together, as it progresses with its ambition to create “a truly differentiated home improvement offer”.
The company explained: “By creating a 21st century Home Improvement proposition in what is currently a fragmented sector, customers will benefit from an end-to-end home improvement service, which includes inspiration, design, project management and execution.”
Home Solutions allows customers to source and book trusted tradespeople for a range of home improvement services. It currently operates within JLP Ventures, a team within the John Lewis Partnership that develops new customer propositions for John Lewis and Waitrose. Home Solutions is steadily rolling out across the country and is about to expand its coverage to Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent in the coming weeks.
Opun, which manages large-scale home improvement projects, including loft conversions and extensions, and the design and installation of bathrooms and kitchens, was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in June 2018 and has been operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Since the acquisition, Opun has been focusing on refining its business model, strengthening its team and developing its service technology, while continuing to deliver high quality home improvement projects.
This change will bring both businesses together within the Services directorate of John Lewis & Partners, capitalising on the complementary capabilities in each.
John Lewis & Partners director of services Sean Allam at said: “Last year’s acquisition of Opun demonstrated our ambition in the home services market and today’s announcement marks a critical next step as we look to strengthen and grow our services business. Bringing the teams together is an exciting opportunity to work collaboratively, share knowledge and collectively learn in the fast-paced home improvement market and create opportunities for growth.”
John Lewis had tough year in 2018, posting a 45% decline in profits to £130million, as high street department stores, struggle to stay relevant in an increasingly-competitive market. The retailer is, no doubt, hoping that offering a complete ones-top shop for renovations and home furnishings, will help boost revenue and provide the business with greater longevity. Meanwhile, sales in home categories were up 3.1% at John Lewis'' department stores this week, following strong sales in textiles and home accessories, which were up 4.9% on the same week last year. Electrical and home technology sales were up 0.9%.
Opun co-founder Rod Brown added “Joining the John Lewis Partnership has been an exciting move for Opun, especially now we are combining with Home Solutions. We know the two businesses stand for the same values - putting customers first and delivering a world class service. We know there are great opportunities which exist in the home improvement market so it’s exciting to be stepping into the next phase as one business.”