An extra day of trading helped the John Lewis Partnership increase sales by 18 per cent year-on-year last week, according to results published today.
Its grocery arm Waitrose took full advantage of the sunny weather in the seven days to April 9th with sales growing by 24.5 per cent compared to last year, whilst John Lewis department stores saw a 7.3 per cent increase.
With Easter Sunday falling on April 4th in 2010, there was an additional day of business this year which helped boost performance, but even so Waitrose will be happy with its trading levels leading up to the national holiday.
Meat, fish, frozen & dairy products witnessed the smallest year-on-year rise over the week of all the supermarkets categories, and even these sales soared 19.7 per cent.
Tony Solomans, Retail Director for Waitrose, said: “Sales at Waitrose responded well as the warm temperatures prompted a wave of picnics, barbecues and garden parties.
“Total sales last week were up 24.5 per cent year-on-year - even taking into account the favourable impact of the timing of Easter, a very strong performance.
“We enjoyed successful openings at Admiral Park in Guernsey and at Raynes Park, while Marlborough traded brilliantly when it reopened following its refurbishment. Each branch is a credit to all Partners involved.”
London department stores were the best performing for the partnership with Peter Jones, Oxford Street and Brent Cross seeing trading up 21.1 per cent, 13.5 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively.
Only three other stores saw sales increase in the week and in the year-to-date only Peter Jones has positive growth in trade whilst Poole has been the worst performing outlet in the financial year with sales down 11.3 per cent.
Last week fashion sales over the whole network grew 10.3 per cent, a decrease on the growth seen in the preceding week but still showing a strong demand for summer clothes on the high street.
Sarah Morris, Head of Buying Operations at John Lewis, commented: “Summer temperatures heralded the start of the Easter holidays for some schools last week.
“Sales were eight per cent above last year as we benefited from the extra day of trade against Easter Sunday last year, and the week finished with good growth on Saturday.
“Womenswear benefited from the start of the wedding season as customers sought out outfits, boosting sale-or-return, wholesale brands and shoes. Summer ranges also flew out, and linen, sunglasses and swimwear were more than 40 per cent on last year.”
Trading at Johnlewis.com grew 36.3 per cent last week, above the year-to-date average, with fashion the strongest performing as sales rose 69 per cent.