Department store John Lewis saw total sales fall 0.3 per cent last week as its fashion category reported negative sales amid “extended winter weather”, it has been announced today.
Overall, fashion sales declined six per cent in the week to March 16th 2013, impacted by poor womenswear sales and suffering from tough comparisons due to price matching activity in the run up to Mother’s Day and an iPad launch in the same period last year.
Womenswear sales plummeted 10 per cent while sales of accessories fell 14 per cent over the week though sales of knee-length coats surged 140 per cent, emphasising the impact of the adverse weather.
Menswear performed well with sales rising eight per cent as own brand and formalwear sales climbed 28 per cent and 14 per cent respectively thanks to growth in cold weather categories such a knitwear.
Meanwhile, electricals and technology sales outperformed other categories, with EHT sales up 2.6 per cent thanks to small electricals and large electricals sales, up 38 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.
Online sales saw a boost over the week following the launch of the retailer’s new website, up 6.5 per cent on last year as customers favoured shopping from home in the cold weather, while Click & Collect orders continue to soar.
Over the week, John Lewis reported a 50 per cent increase in the number of overall orders and an 85 per cent jump in orders collected via Waitrose.
Grocer Waitrose reported an “excellent week” as total sales rose 8.3 per cent thanks to events such as Comic Relief and the rugby Six Nations while online orders also drove growth.
While the retailer donated a record £250,000 to the cause through its wine sales, shoppers also got into the spirit of the occasion as baking sales surged over the week.
Red food colouring saw a 36 per cent rise in sales on a week earlier, red edible glitter flakes saw a staggering 80 per cent rise while free range egg sales increased 18 per cent.
Six Nations fans stayed in to follow the action and sales of steaks, ready meals and fresh pizzas grew 102 per cent, 17 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
Alcohol sales also enjoyed a reinvigoration as beer sales leapt 12 per cent, wine sales rose 14 per cent and spirits saw a 23 per cent sales increase and it is hoped that upcoming celebrations will improve sales across both retailers.
John Lewis’ Buying Director Peter Ruis commented: “With Easter on the horizon, our marketing campaign launching this week and availability in a really strong position, we’re well set for a good result over this important trading period.”