John Lewis Partnership’s sales dipped over the past week, as customers became selective in their spending ahead of the Halloween and Christmas seasons.
For the week ending October 20, the parent company of Waitrose and John Lewis saw sales drop 0.9 per cent year-on-year to £211.81 million, with both retailers posting declining sales.
While this is an improvement on the 1.6 per cent weekly sales drop recorded last week, when looking at the partnership’s the whole 12-week period so far, sales have dipped 0.4 per cent year-on-year.
At Waitrose, total sales excluding fuel were down 0.5 per cent compared to the same week last year.
The upmarket grocer’s supply chain director Wim Van Aalst said customers were busy planning for seasonal celebrations with Halloween and Christmas grocery sales both up five per cent, while sales through the retailer’s food ordering service, Waitrose Entertaining, surged by more than 13 per cent.
Christmas advent calendar sales are up 12 per cent, festive fruit and nut selection sales are up 28 per cent, dates are up 23 per cent and mince pies are up 18 per cent.
Elsewhere, rosé and liqueur sales were both up by 12 per cent, gin sales remained strong, up almost 10 per cent, and speciality beer sales surged 33 per cent.
Over at stablemate John Lewis, total sales for the week were down 1.2 per cent on the same week last year.
Merchandising operations director Jon Williams said fashion sales were up 3.3 per cent, boosted by the 5.6 per cent increase in own brand fashion sales.
Sales were also boosted by John Lewis price matching competitors through its Never Knowingly Undersold policy.
Overall home sales were down 4.9 per cent, but sales of fitted furniture were up 38 per cent and fitted flooring sales were up eight per cent.
“We also saw strong sales of lighting and pictures, and sales of Halloween products were up six per cent,” Williams said.
Meanwhile, electrical and home technology sales were down 1.8 per cent, although demand for new products helped drive audio sales up seven per cent and sales of small electricals up 11 per cent.