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Fashion sales push John Lewis trading into growth

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A strong performance from fashion items, helped by discounted prices, pushed sales at John Lewis partnership into positive growth last week, results today reveal.

Overall trade at the John Lewis Partnership in the seven days ending June 11th 2011 was up 5.5 per cent compared to the same week last year.

Most of this growth came from Waitrose, the group’s grocery arm, which saw sales rise 8.1 per cent whilst John Lewis stores continued to struggle to improve on last year with growth of just 0.7 per cent year-on-year.

Fashion was the strongest sector for the department store with sales rising 7.2 per cent, whilst homewares trade increased 1.9 per cent and electricals & home technology sales dropped an alarming 8.1 per cent.

Maggie Porteous, Head of Selling Operations for New Formats at John Lewis, said: “There has been much in the news about retailers’ sales starting early this year and this was evident in fashions last week, where relevant areas of the assortment have been reduced to match prices in our competitors.

“This gave us great results in womenswear, men’s brands and women’s shoes, which were supported by excellent sales in beauty. Here there were two factors: customers purchasing fragrances for Father’s Day this week and strong sales in Premium Beauty.”

John Lewis was also aided by the poor weather last week, compared to sunshine in 2010, which helped to encourage shoppers into stores and despite slow midweek trading Saturday saw a double-digit growth in business.

Another comparable event was the football World Cup which had got underway by this time last year, and although it has meant less people staying at home this year it has clearly had a detrimental effect on TV sales, as predicted in previous weeks.

Johnlewis.com had another good week with trading up 19 per cent year-on-year but the majority of bricks and mortar stores continued to see sales decline, as just six of its 29 stores with comparable figures reported growth in trade.

Porteous added: “With only a week now left until our Clearance starts online and in shops, preparations are hotting up across all of our channels.

“In the current economic environment it is a great opportunity to capitalise on the extra footfall that we will experience.”

Published on Friday 17 June by Editorial Assistant

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