John Lewis sales down 5.2% amid Jubilee comparison

Department store John Lewis saw total sales fall 5.2 per cent last week amid a number of seasonal variations including poor weather and last year‘s Diamond Jubilee, it has been announced today.

For the week to June 8th 2013, sales reached £59.84 million, up 12 per cent on two years ago, though all directorates reported a decrease in sales over the period.

Sales of Home products decreased 8.9 per cent on a year earlier as the category was “arguably the most impacted by seasonal factors”, noted John Lewis‘ Buying & Brand Director Peter Ruis, though last year‘s sales of Jubilee merchandise caused tough comparatives.

Big-ticket items fared well, with sales of Fitted Furniture, Blinds and Floor Coverings increasing 62 per cent, 18 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.

Electricals and Home Technology (EHT) sales also suffered, down 4.6 per cent after a fortnight of strong trade despite a 24 per cent rise in Large Electrical sales.

Audio and Imaging sales grew 6.2 per cent while sales of Small Electricals climbed 3.6 per cent over the period, though a reduction in branch footfall impacted trade in Communication Technology and Vision.

Sales of Fashion dipped just 0.9 per cent on last year as Women‘s Accessories and Beauty sales drove growth with sunglasses sales soaring 160 per cent on the same week in 2012.

Womenswear sales were boosted by improved weather as own-brand ranges proved popular, though Childrenswear was detrimentally affected by the move of half term.

Online trade was boosted by strong sales of Fashion and EHT while Click & Collect continued its success, helping drive overall online sales up 45 per cent.

John Lewis‘ Clearance sale is now just a week away and Ruis noted “our attention now moves to making the most of this trading opportunity.”

Meanwhile, sister grocer Waitrose reported a positive week as total sales jumped 13.7 per cent thanks to the appearance of the sun which spurred sales.

During the equivalent week last year, Jubilee celebrations took place amid two Bank Holidays and as such the period was not comparable, the supermarket noted.

Nonetheless, shoppers seeking alfresco dining opportunities saw sales of barbecue fuels and Pimm‘s leap 175 per cent and 120 per cent respectively while sun cream sales soared 165 per cent on last year.

Barbecue meat sales increased 64 per cent while sales of tuna steaks, sockeye salmon and sausages rose 72 per cent, 123 per cent and 22 per cent respectively while Waitrose‘s Flower Garden range saw sales improve thanks to good weather as plant sales rocketed 108 per cent.

Rupert Thomas, Marketing Director at Waitrose, noted that multichannel sales also grew despite warm weather driving shoppers outdoors.

He commented: “Online sales at are also up by 69.9 per cent compared to last year as customers opt to shop with Waitrose from the comfort of their home – or perhaps their garden.”


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