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John Lewis Christmas trade driven by online shoppers


Photo: Reuters

Sales at John Lewis grew 5.1% over "three distinct sales peaks" of the Christmas trading period.

Black Friday, Christmas and Clearance characterised a significant shift in patterns of trade, the British retailer said, with higher sales and a different channel mix for each peak. 

While footfall was lower in the run up to Christmas, this was tempered by online sales which grew 21.4% compared to the previous year. Mobile continued to be the fastest-growing channel with sales from smartphones and tablets up 31%. Sales through click-and-collect were up 16% and it was the delivery method of choice for half of all online orders. 

At Waitrose, sales excluding fuel were up 1.2% to £859.8m, with like-for-like sales down 1.4%. There was strong online trading growth as grocery sales rose 7.9%, with sales over the Christmas and New Year weeks up 9.8%. Revenue through direct services websites - including wines, hampers, flowers and kitchen gadgets - grew by 28.1%

Peak trade came particularly late this year and was more concentrated than usual in the days before Christmas. Waitrose had record trading days on 23 and 24 December, with sales up 6.0% and up 5.5%.

Total sales at the John Lewis Partnership in the six weeks to Saturday 2 January were up 4.1% from the same period last year to £1,811.1m

 “This has been a strong Christmas trading period for the Partnership despite the non-food market seeing significant shifts in trade patterns and the grocery market continuing to be challenging,” commented Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.

“John Lewis achieved another very strong sales performance with impressive growth across all three categories of Fashion, Home and Technology.  Waitrose had record trading days leading up to Christmas and good growth online, while like-for-like sales declined overall during the six-week period.

Click-and-collect continued to show the strength of our two brands working together as a proposition for customers, with 35% of John Lewis online orders collected from Waitrose branches. I was particularly pleased to see overall customer numbers increase 5.8% against the same period last year.

Our performance reflects to a large extent the significant investment we have made in our distribution and IT capability. Despite the fact trade was even more concentrated across a number of very busy shopping days, our operations performed especially well.”

Published on Wednesday 06 January by Veebs Sabharwal

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