Belfast Telegraph

John Lewis’s £596m sales smash Christmas record

By Peter Cripps

Strong sales of clothes, bedding and electrical items helped department store John Lewis take more than half a billion pounds in an “outstanding” Christmas.

The retail bellwether, which operates 35 stores, said sales were up 9.3% to £596m in the five weeks to December 31.

Online revenues rose 28%, boosted by a near doubling in the number of shoppers using its click and collect service, while like-for-like sales were up 6%.

However, the figures are not expected to reflect the performance of the broader retail sector, as the chain claimed it gained market share in all categories with the help of its price matching pledge. Its strongest sellers included iPads and Kindles, cashmere sweaters and bedding and linen.

The period saw it smash its previous weekly sales record, when it took £133.1m in the seven days to December 17.

But Next admitted to “disappointing” sales in November and December. Last-minute festive purchases failed to prevent sales at its 520 stores from falling 2.7% on a year earlier between August and Christmas Eve, even though conditions were easier due to last year's Arctic weather.

Consumers showed a greater appetite for the retailer's end-of-season sale, when goods were at half price or less after Next was left with 10% more stock in its clearance period than a year earlier.

Next will still meet profit targets for the year to January but the company's festive performance and cautious outlook caused its shares to fall by around 4% yesterday.

Belfast Telegraph