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Second half starts slowly for John Lewis


Only two of The John Lewis Partnership’s department stores saw sales rise year-on-year in the first seven days of its second-half period, according to figures released today.

Total partnership trading grew six per cent in the week ending August 6th 2011, on the back of the continuingly strong performance of its grocery arm Waitrose but for John Lewis stores sales dropped 1.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Out of its 29 outlets which have been open more than a year just Glasgow and Edinburgh witnessed a sales increase last week, five per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively, and ten stores saw a double digit decline in trade.

John Lewis claimed hot weather was the main disruption to business as fashion sales fell 1.4 per cent and homewares dropped 2.7 per cent, however strong demand for white goods helped push electricals & home technology sales up 1.4 per cent compared to last year.

Simon Russell, Head of Multichannel at John Lewis, commented: “The peak August school holiday period can often be very erratic for retailers given there are plenty of distractions to shopping and last week was no exception.

“We just missed last year’s target by less than two per cent, not helped by the balmy weather in the south nor the close of the M25 towards the weekend. Nevertheless, this was an impressive 13.9 per cent up over two years.

“The cooler Scottish climate helped Glasgow and Edinburgh lead the branch scores with Trafford, Cambridge and Liverpool not far behind. once again recorded a fine double digit increase and a storming week for click & collect both in John Lewis and Waitrose shops.”

Online sales were up 21.1 per cent year-on-year and with sales increasing 2.6 per cent in its first half Russell claims that the retailer has coped better with the tough trading conditions than many of its rivals, however only its Oxford Street and Peter Jones outlets have improved business on last year in the year to date.

Waitrose continues to outperform its competitors with sales up 10.3 per cent last week adding to the 8.7 per cent growth recorded for its first half.

All sections saw strong sales lifts with meat and other barbeque products proving particularly popular with customers.

Rupert Thomas, Marketing Director of Waitrose, said: “Sales at Waitrose last week were 10.3 per cent higher than the same time last year, with the hot and sunny weather at the beginning of the week helping drive a continuing al fresco cooking and dining trend.

“Meat had a very successful week, with a rise of 43 per cent on last year, while summer barbecue meats were up by 48 per cent.

“Last week we opened two new shops - our first branch in Littlehampton and a Little Waitrose in High Holborn, which both received warm welcomes from shoppers in those areas. And our new branch in Wimbledon completed its first full week of trading with strong sales.”

Published on Friday 12 August by Editorial Assistant

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