Sales at the John Lewis Partnership increased by 2.2 per cent year-on-year last week, with trade at department stores dropping after a two-week recovery.
Results published today revealed that in the week ending March 12th department store sales fell 1.8 per cent, and currently only its Peter Jones and Cambridge outlets are ahead of 2010 trading for the year-to-date.
Waitrose sales grew by 4.5 per cent over the seven days, compared to a 9.3 per cent increase the previous week, with the partnership blaming this year’s timing of Mother’s Day for the dip in overall business.
Peter Ruis, Buying and Brand Director at John Lewis, said: “With the benefit of Mother’s Day sales last year, we were up against a strong set of comparatives, so our decline of two per cent on the year was a very creditable performance, especially as we saw a 16 per cent increase on 2009.
“The impact of Mother’s Day was told in the story of the week’s trade, with a strong start tailing off as the weekend approached.
“Against this background, it was undoubtedly a challenging week for our shops, with partners in Peter Jones and Milton Keynes doing well to get their shops so close to beating the year.”
The usually excellent Peter Jones store saw sales dip 0.5 per cent year-on-year during the week, whilst Knight & Lee and Sheffield were the worst performing outlets with trade down 16.9 per cent and 16.6 per cent respectively.
Home products saw the biggest decline in sales during the week, down 4.6 per cent year-on-year, whilst fashion sales, which performed so well two weeks previously, fell 2.6 per cent. Trade in electricals and home technology items rose 3.1 per cent.
Online sales continued to perform well, up 28.9 per cent year-on-year last week and higher by 26.2 per cent for the year-to-date.
Ruis added: “As we look ahead to the next few weeks, the trading pattern will continue to be complex to read due to the fall of Easter.
“Nevertheless, we should have confidence that when customers are ready to spend we are in good shape to take the sale. This was underlined on Sunday when, without the distraction of Mother’s Day, we started the week with a +20 per cent increase.”