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John Lewis warns of tough sales comparisons ahead


Department store group John Lewis has warned of the challenging sales comparisons it faces in the six weeks ahead due to the equivalent period last year containing the build-up to the football World Cup.

It will be tough to report like-for-like (LFL) trading increases for its consumer electronics department throughout the rest of May and June because of the high level of TV and entertainment products purchased as last year’s major sporting event drew near.

Early signs of this problem were evident in today’s trading announcement, which showed that the seven days to May 7th represented a “difficult week for consumer electronics”.

These problems will not be restricted to John Lewis though, and we should expect to hear of similar LFL sales decreases at specialist electricals retailers over the next couple of months, with Dixons Retail already issuing a similar warning yesterday.

Meanwhile overall sales at John Lewis were £54.33 million, down 1.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2010, in what the retailer described as the “first real like-for-like week of the year”.

A resemblence of normality has returned after calendar events, a royal wedding and unseasonably warm spring weather skewed comparisons in previous weeks.

Fashion sales grew five per cent year-on-year, but there was an overall sales decrease of six per cent for the company’s home department mainly due to low consumer interest in bigger ticket items like furniture, carpets and lighting.

Susanne Given, Buying Director, Fashion at John Lewis, commented: “With the wedding behind us and the vote on AV declared, the consumer will hopefully return to more regular shopping behaviour.”

Fellow John Lewis Partnership retailer Waitrose reported a strong seven-day period to May 7th, with sales up 10.8 per cent on last year to reach £103.17 million.

The week coincided with the launch of Waitrose’s Good To Go range, which has been introduced to support the business’s growth into the convenience market

Explaining the new brand, Personnel Director at Waitrose Rob Collins said: “It includes classic lunchtime favourites and innovative bread-free products such as Romaine lettuce leaf ‘boats’ and has already seen sales of existing products within it rise by 13 per cent on last year.”

Published on Friday 13 May by Editorial Assistant

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