Department store John Lewis saw total sales decrease 3.2 per cent to £64.6 million last week as the early Easter distorted comparisons, it has been announced.
Assessing the two weeks of Easter trading provides a more accurate depiction, the retailer said, with sales over that period climbing 10.5 per cent, representing John Lewis’ strongest Easter ever.
Sales grew across all categories in the week to April 6th 2013, driven by electronics which reported a 19.4 per cent increase despite last year’s digital switchover causing tough comparatives.
Home sales rose 7.2 per cent on last year’s Easter period as home accessories & gifts reported record-breaking results, with wall decor and lighting sales up 26 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.
Online sales jumped 18.7 per cent while fashion sales saw a 5.6 per cent lift despite cold weather and Paula Nickolds, Buying Director of the John Lewis Home Directorate, said that the introduction of the Spring Shop campaign will drive sales both online and in stores.
She added: “There is of course one more important week to go before we can fully judge our Easter performance.
“With an extra day’s trade this week and school holidays still ongoing there is plenty of opportunity for the recent momentum to continue.
“We are well set, with fantastic product, stock and availability, to take advantage as soon as customers start to think about Spring and Summer.”
Upmarket grocer Waitrose saw sales plummet 17.8 per cent on the same trading week last year though, over the whole Easter fortnight, sales climbed 12.7 per cent.
Public excitement around the Grand National boosted sales of celebratory goods, with sales of champagne and sparkling wine increasing 13.5 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.
Last week, the chain opened a new Little Waitrose in London’s Vauxhall and Waitrose’s Retail Director Rob Collins praised the store’s performance.
Collins explained: “Sales at our new little Waitrose in Vauxhall, which opened last week, were well ahead of expectation and next week we will open our third Dubai store at Al Thanya building on the success of our two existing stores, where sales for the week are up 15 per cent on last year.”