Selfridges and John Lewis, two prominent UK department stores, are leading the charge in adopting innovative approaches to retail. Recognizing the growing demand for sustainable and circular fashion, both companies have ventured into the realm of product rental. Selfridges, in particular, has gone a step further by placing a strong emphasis on sustainability as part of its wider Project Earth initiative.

Selfridges has teamed up with Hurr, a peer-to-peer rental platform, to launch a groundbreaking store-to-consumer rental service. This collaboration allows Selfridges’ customers to rent from a carefully curated collection of contemporary and designer pieces. Featuring over 40 brands, including renowned names like Zimmermann, Cecilie Bahnsen, and Emilia Wickstead, the Selfridges Rental Collection offers more than 100 pieces for rent, both in-store and online, for a period of four to 20 days. The aim of this partnership is to reshape the fashion industry’s norms and foster a future where circularity becomes the standard for both businesses and consumers alike.

Sebastian Manes, the Executive Buying and Merchandising Director at Selfridges, believes that this new rental service not only allows customers to experience luxury fashion in a more accessible way but also promotes flexibility and reduces waste. Alongside product rental, Selfridges’ Project Earth initiative encompasses various other sustainable measures, such as the inclusion of secondhand fashion, beauty packaging recycling, product repair, and the implementation of greener practices in the company’s back-office operations. This comprehensive five-year sustainability plan demonstrates Selfridges’ unwavering commitment to embracing new ways of thinking and living. The company is also collaborating with the designer labels it stocks to encourage the use of recycled and organic materials. Additionally, Selfridges encourages customers to sell their accessories for store credit, further promoting circularity within the industry.

On the other hand, John Lewis is diving into the rental market within its furniture department. The company has partnered with Fat Llama, the world’s largest product rental marketplace, to offer customers the opportunity to rent items such as desks, chairs, dining tables, and sofas for durations of three, six, or 12 months. What sets this initiative apart is that customers can also choose to purchase these items at any time, with rental payments deducted from the purchase price. The longer customers commit to renting, the lower the rental price becomes.

The introduction of these rental services by Selfridges and John Lewis highlights their dedication to finding new avenues for revenue generation, connecting with consumers (particularly the millennial demographic), and championing circularity and sustainability in their respective industries. These initiatives demonstrate the retail sector’s commitment to adapting to evolving consumer preferences and actively contributing to a more sustainable future.

It’s worth noting that these initiatives were not reactionary responses to the post-pandemic world. They were strategically planned well in advance, with Selfridges initially aiming to launch Project Earth in April but postponing it due to the UK’s lockdown. Through these endeavors, both Selfridges and John Lewis are positioning themselves as businesses that consumers can trust to prioritize their needs and make ethical choices.

Useful Links:
1. Selfridges Store Reopening Information
2. John Lewis Official Website