Total sales for department store John Lewis rose by 3.3 per cent yet fell behind its current run rate.
With parents keen to stock up on Back to School apparel, Schoolwear sales were up 9.8 per cent and new assortments in the Nursery section helped fuel a rise. Stores in Swindon and Milton Keynes continue to do well, with sales rising by 12.6 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively.
Home category sales saw a 3.8 per cent drop, but furniture sales were strong and the recent launch for ‘Any Shape, Any Fabric’ has created optimism for the rest of the year.
John Lewis will create the largest range of upholstery on the high street and allows customers to choose their own combination of shape and fabric for their furniture with 112,203 amalgamations possible.
The launch coincides with several furniture retailers being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading for inflated reference pricing.
The take up of Click and collect at John Lewis was ‘especially good’ and online sales grew by 19.9 per cent.
Tim Harrison, Head of Retail Implementationand Format Development, John Lewis said: “The holidays are over, the schools are all back and we could now do with the next turn of the changing seasons. The new products in our shops are getting a great reception from customers and we have it superbly presented in both shops and online, allowing us to make the most of the new season.”
Meanwhile, sales at Waitrose were up 9.1 per cent (exc petrol) with summer sun again influencing shoppers’ decisions. Customers opted for picnic food and ice cream and prepared salads in the ‘Food to Go’ range was up 50 per cent.
Rupert Thomas, Marketing Director, Waitrose commented: “There were also signs that people are still cooking outside, with barbecue meat sales up by 38 per cent, bread rolls by 14 per cent and corn on the cobs by 22 per cent.”
Parents were also in the swing of stocking up for the new school term with children’s snack cheeses up 35 per cent and packs of dried fruit rising by 39 per cent.
Thomas added: “Sales were driven by a sunny end to the summer holidays and by shoppers stocking up for a return to school and university.”