The John Lewis Partnership traded strongly over Christmas with sales up by almost five per cent and both its Waitrose and John Lewis chains grew market share.
In the six week period to December 31, total sales across the John Lewis Partnership were up 4.9 per cent year-on-year to £1.91 billion.
During this Christmas trading period, gross sales at John Lewis alone were up 4.9 per cent to £998.1 million, with like-for-like sales up 2.7 per cent.
Online sales accounted for 40 per cent of John Lewis’ sales, having grown 11.8 per cent compared to bricks-and-mortar shop sales inching up by 0.8 per cent.
The partnership said its department store chain “outperformed the market again this year”, thanks to three trading peaks of Black Friday, Christmas week and Clearance.
As for Waitrose, Christmas trading gross sales – excluding fuel – were up by 4.8 per cent to £914.9 million, with like-for-like sales up 2.8 per cent.
The grocery chain’s convenience stores recorded a sales uptick of 13.1 per cent and 4.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis, while online sales were up by 0.8 per cent.
The partnership said Waitrose’s sales were driven by Christmas promotions and demand for premium items, with the Waitrose 1 ‘best in class’ range seeing a 21.4 per cent uplift.
“Operational performance was good across both brands,” John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said.
“That was thanks to the hard work and commitment of partners across shops, distribution and head offices.
“As a result we sustained a strong sales performance right through to Christmas and enabled a great start post-Christmas, including Clearance.”
However, while Mayfield said the full year profit before partnership bonus, tax and exceptionals is predicted to be ahead of last year, as lower pension accounting charges offset the pressures facing trading profit as a result of wider changes taking place in retail.
It warned that bonuses – to be decided by the board in March – could likely be “significantly lower” than last year, given the “challenging market outlook” and need for investment in the future.
The John Lewis Partnership will release its full year results ended January 28 on March 9.