Sales at department store chain John Lewis were down 2.2 per cent year-on-year in the week to January 7th 2012, but the retailer’s electricals & home technology (EHT) division performed well.
Overall sales for the week totalled £73.04 million with the drop partly due to the fact there was one less trading day than the same week in 2011, but EHT revenues were up 4.2 per cent annually.
This category’s success was driven by a 31 and 11 per cent increase in IT and Vision sales, which John Lewis attributed to growing customer awareness of the looming digital switchover deadline.
Homeware trading was down five per cent and fashion revenues slipped 5.2 per cent year-on-year, but online channel Johnlewis.com again proved resilient with a 19 per cent sales increase on week one of 2011.
Paula Nickolds, Buying Director for Home at John Lewis, said: “In our first trading week in 2012, the headline sales performance of -2.2 per cent was the result of one less trading day, and actually masked some very promising individual daily sales.
“Trade improved as the week progressed, reaffirming the impact of the VAT increase last year, particularly for forward order categories where purchases are typically more considered.
“Customers continued to respond very positively to our Clearance package, and we achieved double-digit percentage increases on both ‘Reduced to Clear’ and ‘Special Buy’ stock.”
Although experiencing a relatively slow start to the new year, John Lewis trading was up 6.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis over December and the all-important Christmas period.
Focus has now turned to the January sales period and clearing stock in time for the new spring season, which is set to represent the start of a particularly tough 12 months for the retail industry as a whole.
Nickolds added: “We have more newness in store than ever before at this time of year, and exciting customers with fresh ideas will ensure that the critical full-price trade keeps pace with what promises to be an excellent Clearance performance.”