Department store group John Lewis has today reported a 0.1 per cent year-on-year rise in total sales for last week, which equates to a 1.7 per cent decline once VAT is excluded.
The mild climate, in comparison to a wintery comparable seven days last year, was blamed for the disappointing performance for the week ending September 24th 2011 as fashion sales dropped 0.7 per cent.
Electricals & home technology products continued to sell well, with trading for this category rising 4.1 per cent on last year, but homewares slumped 1.7 per cent and all but two of its store reported year-on-year sales decreasing.
Online trading is proving increasingly important to the retailer with Johnlewis.com reporting a 21.4 per cent boost in business, and only Sheffield and Poole posted improved results on 2010 whilst its Knight & Lee, Croydon, Norwich, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Reading, Welwyn and Bluewater outlets all posted double digit declines.
Nat Wakely, Director of Selling Operations for Region A at John Lewis, said: “It was a much quieter end to the week in terms of footfall given the milder weather compared to frost a year ago.
“So, it was pleasing in that context to cross the line against last year, giving us, I am sure, a market-beating increase for the month of September.
“Fashion unusually failed to beat last year but the knitwear figures tell it all in terms of the effect of the weather when compared year-on-year.”
Waitrose, the grocery half of the John Lewis Partnership, in comparison witnessed an 8.8 per cent rise in sales during the week, meaning overall trading for the group increased 5.4 per cent year-on-year.
Online services grew an impressive 23.5 per cent for the supermarket during the period, whilst ambient goods were the most popular products at stores.