Decent trading at both its supermarkets and departments stores over the last week meant sales across the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) grew 10.2 per cent year-on-year, according to figures released today.
Sales across the employee-owned retail group totalled £160.92 million for the seven days ending February 4th 2012, with Waitrose, its grocery chain, performing particularly strongly.
A surge of spending on warming foods boosted trade at Waitrose by 12.3 per cent year-on-year to a total of £108.45 million for the week, with sales of free-range sausages & speciality bacon each rising around 200 per cent.
Rupert Thomas, Marketing Director for Waitrose, commented: “Customers stocked up on store cupboard staples including long-life milk, up 24 per cent, canned soup, up 30 per cent, and hot beverages, up 17 per cent. Sales of chilled baby food also rose by 46 per cent.
“Frozen food did well with frozen fish, chips and vegetables, up by 13, 24 and 18 per cent respectively.
“Cooks turned their hands to hearty meals at home, with stewing meats up by 52 per cent on last year and slow cooked meats up by a massive 220 per cent. Those looking for meals with less hassle opted for hot pies and pizzas, up 23 per cent, and traditional British ready meals, which saw sales rise by 102 per cent.”
Waitrose also starting selling fresh rose petals last week in pink, white and red colours at £1.99 per 50g bag in an attempt to cash in on Valentine’s Day, while sales of confectionary linked to the yearly celebration grew 50 per cent year-on-year last week.
JLP’s department store brand John Lewis also seemed to benefit from the impending romantic calendar event last week, with seasonal gift sales up 41.6 per cent compared to the same seven days last year.
Overall trading was more muted at John Lewis, despite a 28.5 per cent year-on-year surge in online sales, as most stores saw their volumes of business fall compared to last year.
David Barford, Selling Operation Director for Region B at John Lewis, said: “The start of a new year and week one, albeit decidedly chilly, saw us deliver a good performance overall with a 6 per cent uplift on last year.
“We had three branches with very good double-figure increases. A very big well done to Croydon with an increase on last year of 19.1 per cent, followed by Poole at 17.4 per cent and Southampton with 13.1 per cent.”
The group also opened two new Waitrose stores during the week; a full-sized supermarket at Walton-le-Dale in Preston and a Little Waitrose convenience store at the Corn Exchange in Ipswich.