Department store John Lewis has broken the £160m sales record for the first time this week as British shoppers left their Christmas shopping till the last minute.
A 3.3 per cent year-on-year rise in fashion was driven by childrenswear, while the retailer enjoyed a 4.4 per cent sales rise in its home section as people bought board games such as Linkee and Bananagrams for the Christmas period.
John Lewis posted a 9.7 per cent surge in week on week sales, yet sales plummeted y-o-y in its Peterborough and Brent Cross branches by 10.2 per cent and 10.1 per cent. Sales at its High Wycombe store were up 18.5 per cent.
The retailer says it’s seen a different shape to trade this year, with “an early peak flattening out before the final week’s surge.”
Paula Nickolds, buying and brand director at John Lewis, said: “It’s clear that much of Britain has yet again taken shopping for Christmas right up to the wire. Buoyed by this week’s record trading, all of our channels are braced for the final three shopping days before Christmas.
The retailer has posted a number of weekly sales records this month.
John Lewis’ website saw a sales increase of 4.2 per cent year-on-year as shoppers bought an iPad every ten seconds. The retailer has extended its final Click and Collect orders until Christmas Eve in the wake of consumer demand.
Meanwhile, rival M&S held a 30 per cent off flash sale on 21 December in a bid to secure last-minute commerce from shoppers.
Julie Palmer, partner at professional services company Begbies Taylor said the retail sector, particular second hand store and market stall, were in need of some festive cheer this Christmas period:
“The big supermarket chains began their Christmas promotions earlier than ever this year, while they are also aggressively expanding into the convenience and express store market, causing smaller food and drink retailers to suffer most in the lead up to Christmas,” she said. “Unable to compete on the range of goods they offer, combined with the growing trend for consumers to do their festive food shopping online for the best deals, local shops can be expected to continue to suffer as this relentless competition and price pressure persists.”
Crispin Simon, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Chief Executive, said sales of Brussel sprouts, geese and Christmas lights would surge 2000 per cent in the run up to Christmas Day.
“The Made in Britain brand is sought after across the world and this year, like last, Santa’s sleigh will be stuffed with presents and festive treats made and designed by UK businesses.
“In 2014 we want to make sure that increasing numbers of UK firms are not just trading abroad, but thriving there and competing with the best the rest of the world has to offer.