Department store group John Lewis reported its best sales performance of the half-year to date, with trading increasing seven per cent on last year for the week ending October 15th 2011.
More seasonal weather enticed shoppers back to the stores, as the retailer opened its sixth at home format in Tamworth which delivered a positive first week of trading.
Home had a strong week of sales in general, reporting an uplift of seven per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), despite low consumer confidence leading to a drop in the purchase of ‘big ticket’ items such as furniture.
Upholstery sales rose by 17 per cent, while living & dining sales increased by 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2010.
Online sales saw a dramatic uplift, up nearly 36 per cent compared to the same week in 2010 as the company continues to improve its multichannel offering.
The north/south divide outlined last week as the reason for slow growth has lessened, though the best y-o-y performance was reported in Newcastle and Trafford, which saw sales increases of 2.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.
Customers rushed to purchase autumn/winter collections, as fashion sales rose five per cent on last year, with childrenswear outperforming the rest of the sector with a jump of 11 per cent.
The group is now focusing on the run-up to Christmas as consumers are expected to begin their festive shopping earlier this year in order to spread the cost of gifts.
Paula Nickolds, Buying Director for Home at John Lewis, acknowledged the trend, saying: “It seems many customers are starting to feel festive as sales of Christmas shop and gifting ranges across our offer are already selling well.
“We now find ourselves on the cusp of the Christmas sales build. Our combined focus will ensure we provide the most enjoyable shopping experience for our customers every time they visit us and capture every sale possible.”