The two bank holiday weekend’s straddling last week had a significantly negative impact on sales at John Lewis department stores, figures released today reveal.
Trading at John Lewis fell 9.2 per cent year-on-year in the seven days to April 30th 2011, with all stores more than 12 months old reporting a drop in sales compared to the same period last year.
Sales across the John Lewis partnership declined 2.4 per cent during the week with Waitrose, the grocery arm of the business, recording only a slight year-on-year increase in trade of 1.4 per cent.
Of all of the group’s department stores, Poole saw the biggest decline in business year-on-year, down 21.3 per cent, whilst only its Cambridge and Peter Jones stores have now increased their sales in the year-to-date, 0.8 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.
Helen Keppel-Compton, Head of Multichannel Content at John Lewis, said: “It was a unique week of trade with a lovely party feeling, but inevitably the bank holidays had a detrimental effect on footfall.
“Despite some decent days of trade midweek, the combined effects of Easter Sunday and the half-day closure last Friday meant that we finished down 9.2 per cent on Saturday.”
Home was the worst performing segment for the retailer with sales dropping 12.4 per cent year-on-year, whilst fashion fell 8.8 per cent and electricals & home technology declined 4.2 per cent.
Online sales grew 18.3 per cent during the period but this was down from the previous week and well below the year-to-date figure of 27 per cent.
Waitrose performed much better, although calendar changes dampen its figures, and in the first quarter of the financial year it is ahead of its rivals with sales up 8.7 per cent compared to 2010.
Keppel-Compton added: “This week is free of distractions from a trade perspective. With the weather set to be kind we can look forward to getting back to normal and doing what we do best: great product, great service and a great place to shop, whichever channel you choose.”