Sales at leading UK department store chain John Lewis rose 9.3 per cent in total and 6.2 per cent on a like-for-like (LFL) basis over the all important Christmas period, result released today revealed.
After a sluggish second half of 2011 in terms of trading, with tough year-on-year comparisons and squeezed personal finances dampening sales growth, it appears the five weeks to December 31st 2011 have given the retailer a spur with sales totalling £596 million.
On a two-year comparison, LFL sales were up 14.4 per cent for the period and total sales grew 19.1 per cent but the all-important profits figures for Christmas have yet to be revealed by the group.
Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis, said: “Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding. During that period we broke the record for our biggest week ever with a sterling total of £133.1m for the week ending December 17th.
“The first week of clearance saw a very strong start, but against the pre-VAT increase week in 2010, it was always going to be a challenge to match sales, particularly with ‘big ticket’ items.”
Online sales will have been vital to most retailers’ performance over the festive period and John Lewis managed to boost website trading by 27.9 per cent on last year and e-tail sales have now exceeded a total of £600 million for the year-to-date.
Electricals & home technology sales were four per cent up over the five weeks, but this division was outperformed by both fashion and home products which saw sales rise 10.3 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively.
“The strength of our online operation was very much in evidence during this key five week period, confirming our strength as a pre-eminent multichannel retailer,” Street added.
“Sales at Johnlewis.com broke through the £600 million milestone during December and our click & collect operation, giving customers the flexibility of buying online and collecting from 129 John Lewis and Waitrose branches, continued operating right up to Christmas Eve in John Lewis and saw a 90 per cent increase in usage.”