John Lewis launches savings accounts amid push away from retail

John Lewis will offer new savings accounts for customers amid a diversification push away from retail.

The high street institution’s Individual Savings Accounts for both adults and children will launch on Thursday through a collaboration with digital wealth manager Nutmeg.

This is one of several steps by John Lewis, which also owns Waitrose, to move away from its reliance on retail.

By 2030 the business hopes that 40% of its profits will come from outside the retail sector, and it has recently unveiled plans to build homes in its old stores.

Earlier this year the business launched home insurance and retail credit products.

The move will tap into a boom in savings that was sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While many lost their jobs, or were furloughed on a 20% pay cut, those who were able to work from home while not spending money in restaurants, pubs and non-essential shops have amassed large savings over the past year and a half.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, households saved nearly 26% of their disposable income between April and July last year, the highest since records began in 1987.

For comparison, the savings rate was less than 9% between January and March last year, before the lockdowns started.

“The pandemic has been tough for many, but others have managed to save more every month,” said John Lewis financial services director Amir Goshtai.

“They’ve also reassessed how they want to spend their money – more than ever, they want to secure their financial future and that of their families.

“Our products allow people to put money aside and to take that first step into what is often perceived as the complicated world of investments.

“This is where the trust and love that customers have for our brand combined with Nutmeg’s expertise can make a difference, while making John Lewis even more relevant for life’s big moments; whether that’s saving for a home or preparing for the arrival of a new baby.”