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John Lewis reports sharp decline in weekly sales


Department store group John Lewis has seen sales decline for the second consecutive week, blaming the recent good weather for the drop in customers.

The Indian summer saw sales decrease by 7.9 per cent year-on-year for the week ending October 1st 2011, while fashion took a considerable fall of 13 per cent as customers chose not to purchase autumn/winter items in the milder weather.

Positive results in the accessories sector improved the retailer’s standing, as sales were up 20 per cent on the same period last year, while handbags recorded a two per cent trading rise.

While sales were down in all of its bricks and mortar stores across the country, John Lewis’s online sales saw the biggest revenue increase compared to last year as the retailer continued to build its multichannel presence.

Online sales were ahead of last year by 14 per cent, although the prospect of the last of 2011’s good warm weather diverted customers’ attention to outdoor pursuits.

This was positive news for partner Waitrose, which saw a 9.7 per cent increase in sales as customers stocked up on all things alfresco as a result of the sunshine.

Sales of sun cream almost tripled, up by 190 per cent compared to last year, while ice cream sales rose by 62 per cent.

Barbecue-related food performed strongly, as shoppers bought 50 per cent more chicken drumsticks, 41 per cent more bread rolls, 32 per cent more salad ingredients, 60 per cent more feta cheese and 20 per cent more seafood than last year.

Waitrose also opened its first Dotcom Fulfilment Centre in Acton, west London, creating more than 200 jobs.

The results come as the grocer announced an investment of £1 billion over the next three years which will see 100 new stores being unveiled and 10,000 jobs created.

In another development, the supermarket will this week launch its response to Tesco’s controversial price reduction scheme in an attempt to offer customers value for money.

Rob Collins, Personnel Director at the grocer, explained: “This week we’re launching our biggest ever value campaign - called ‘1,000s of ways to great value’,” he said.

“The campaign will highlight the strength of our value proposition, communicating that we have more than 1,000 great value daily essentials through our essential Waitrose range; more than 1,000 everyday branded products at the same price as Tesco through our Brand Price Match commitment; and more than 1,000 products on offer or promotion every week, such as buy one, get one free.”

Published on Friday 07 October by Editorial Assistant

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