The new strategy unveiled by chair Sharon White aims to generate 40% of future profits from areas such as financial services and private and affordable housing by 2030.
First planning applications will be submitted in the new year for sites in London where John Lewis would become the landlord once housing is built.
John Lewis is looking at building flats above or around stores.
White said: “We’ve identified 20 sites we own that could be used to benefit local communities by providing quality and sustainable housing while providing a stable income for the Partnership.
“We’ll make planning applications for two of these in the new year in greater London.
“Entering the ‘build to rent’ market also allows us to furnish properties using John Lewis Home products and deliver Waitrose food.
“We’re a landlord already at three of our properties so this is an obvious extension for us. And we’re now talking to developers and investors who can help us achieve our ambitions.”
The five-year recovery and growth plan for the retailer will also see £1bn invested, split equally between modernising and refitting its shop estate and transforming its online offer.
White said she hoped the plan would see the business reach £200m profit by the end of year two and £400m by end of year five.