By Marcus Leach
John Lewis today (Wednesday) published its trading update for the five weeks to 31 December 2011, and reported that total sales were £596m, 9.3 per cent up compared with last year.
Like-for-like sales were +6.2 per cent. Compared with two years ago total sales were 19.1 per cent up whilst like-for-like sales grew by 14.4 per cent.
Over the same period, electricals and home technology sales were 4.0 per cent up. Fashion, including beauty, was 10.3 per cent up whilst home increased by 13.6 per cent; figures which reflect gains in market share in all categories.
Online sales for the five weeks were 27.9 per cent up on last year. Online sales have now exceeded £600m for the year to date.
The fourth week of the period (Sunday 18 December to Saturday 24 December inclusive) saw sales of £124.7m, up 32.7 per cent on 2010 sales for the equivalent week - a very strong performance even with an extra day’s trade that week.
The fifth week of the period (Sunday 25th December to Saturday 31st December inclusive) saw sales of £101.3m, which, although down 4.8% year on year, were against sales for the week before the VAT increase on Jan 1 2011.
“Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding. During that period we broke the record for our biggest week ever with a sterling total of £133.1m for the week ending December 17th. The first week of Clearance saw a very strong start, but against the pre-VAT increase week in 2010, it was always going to be a challenge to match sales, particularly with ‘big ticket’ items," Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis, said.
“The strength of our online operation was very much in evidence during this key five week period, confirming our strength as a pre-eminent multi-channel retailer. Sales at johnlewis.com broke through the £600m milestone during December and our Click and Collect operation, giving customers the flexibility of buying online and collecting from 129 John Lewis and Waitrose branches, continued operating right up to Christmas Eve in John Lewis and saw a 90% increase in usage.
“Above all our success can be attributed to the excellent service delivered by our Partners as well as inspiring products and outstanding value. Although trade in 2012 will undoubtedly be challenging and economic conditions volatile, John Lewis will continue to be the trusted retailer of choice for our customers and will always fulfill its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ promise.”
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