John Lewis plans to build homes across 20 of its locations, as part of plans to revive the business.
Rental properties will be constructed above or beside Waitrose supermarkets, a subsidiary of John Lewis, while the company is also looking to sell home insurance.
Sharon White, an economist who joined as chairman in February, said the new ideas would be backed with £400m of investment.
The company is likely to record a full-year loss, but hopes to make £400m by 2025, including half that amount within two years.
Some 40% of its profit is expected to come from activities outside retail by 2030, with up to 60% of sales being online.
Israel Moskovitz, chief executive of commerical property investor Avon Group, said: “The move by John Lewis to combine residential and commercial accommodation at 20 of its sites across the country provides us with a telling insight into the future of the property sector post-Covid.
“Commercial and residential properties have a long and intertwined history together. From inns to corner shops, residential quarters are often found tucked away in commercial buildings.”
He added: “In recent years, we have seen a more concerted effort by developers and landlords to bring together residential, leisure and retail spaces.
“This trend germinated before the Covid-19 pandemic, but we are now seeing it grow into a fully-fledged and mainstream approach to modern housing.
“It is clear that fresh ways of thinking about the use of space are needed in the property sector to respond to Covid-19, in both the residential and commercial areas.
“By uniting the energies of the residential and commercial sectors, along with the construction sector, it appears that this new approach could hold the keys to the future of the sector.”
This post has originally been featured in Property Wire.