In the last week of trading in its financial year, John Lewis department stores suffered a second successive week of sales decline but Waitrose trading remained strong.
During the seven-day period ending January 29th, sales at Waitrose rose 6.4 per cent year-on-year but John Lewis store sales dropped 0.9 per cent meaning that total John Lewis Partnership sales grew by just 3.8 per cent.
It is a disappointing end to a very strong year of trading where all but two of the partnership’s department stores recorded higher 52-week sales growth compared to the previous year.
Andrew Murphy, Retail Director at John Lewis, said: “The final week of a testing, but successful, trading year saw a dip against 2009/10 trade of one per cent. While only Peter Jones, Cambridge, Trafford and Glasgow were up on last year.
“So the trading year closes with a strong monthly score for January: up eight per cent and a justifiable sense of achievement - which should be shared by partners around the division - over our collective success in building trade so strongly in what has been a tough year for UK retail as a whole.”
Johnlewis.com posted further sales growth of 18 per cent during the week, fashion was the most popular segment rising 1.4 per cent whilst electricals & home technology products saw the largest decline - falling 5.1 per cent year-on-year.
At Waitrose all segments saw trading growth, with chilled, fruit, vegetables, horticulture & bakery products the most popular climbing 8.6 per cent. This follows news that the grocer increased its market share during the 12 weeks to January 23rd, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
Double-digit growth experienced over the Christmas period was indicative of the retail group’s strong performance this year but the recent decline in bricks and mortar department store trade points to a tricky 2011.
Murphy added: “The year ahead promises to be even more testing, but we are budgeting for growth.
“In doing so it is the consistent quality of our partners’ delivery of a great assortment, real value and exceptional service that gives us genuine confidence that, once again, we will be able to outperform our competitors and gain market share in all of our categories.”