The half-term calendar change which boosted trading over the previous seven days caused John Lewis sales to stay stagnant year-on-year last week.
Results released today show that sales at the department store chain remained flat in the week to February 25th 2012 to total £54 million, representing a sharp drop from the 13 per cent annual growth recorded for the preceding week.
Last week’s lack of growth was primarily caused by the national school half term being brought forward a week compared to 2011, but there were still plenty of positives to be seen in the latest trading update.
John Lewis stores at Knight & Lee and in Poole both saw strong growth, of 10.9 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively, while the collective sales over the four weeks ending last Saturday rose 5.7 per cent year-on-year for the retailer.
Nat Wakely, Director of Selling Operations for Region A at John Lewis, said: “Not surprisingly it was a less attention-grabbing headline last week following our fabulous result the week before, given the change in timing of half term for most of our shops.
“The footfall effect of half term works differently between shops and online, and so congratulations go to Knight & Lee and Poole for posting good increases on 2011. Johnlewis.com posted a tremendous +39 per cent with a pretty consistent pattern across all merchandise groups.”
Along with online, the group’s electricals & home technology division also performed well with sales up 12.1 per cent compared to last year, however both homewares and fashion departments saw sales decline by 3.6 per cent.
Waitrose, sister retailer to John Lewis, posted sales of £103.22 million for the week, up 8.2 per cent on last year, meaning total John Lewis Partnership trading rose 5.2 per cent over the period.
Rob Collins, Retail Director at Waitrose, commented: “Despite the warmer weather, shoppers continue to indulge in traditional roast dinners, with sales of meat up by 9.5 per cent.
“Traditional options such as duck and turkey remained popular, but the performance across the Forgotten Cuts range has been extremely high: sales of ox and pig cheek have risen by 146 and 162 per cent respectively.”