John Lewis gross sales were £998.1m for the six weeks to 31st December – up 4.9% versus the previous year and up 2.7%1 on a LFL basis (but including an extra day of trading). The pattern of trade was characterised by the three peaks of Black Friday, Christmas week, and Clearance.
Online, shopping on mobile phones was the channel of choice, with sales up 80.9%, accounting for 37% of all traffic. Click & Collect sales were up 14.5%, accounting for 52% of online orders. Shop sales were also up, trading well pre-Christmas as last-minute shopping delivered a record week for branches. Overall, online sales were up 11.8%, representing 40% of sales, and shop sales were up 0.8%. Across the product areas, Home sales were up 2.7%.
John Lewis reports that on the Saturday after Black Friday, its Magna Park distribution centre processed 33% more units than the equivalent in 2015.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, comments: "We traded strongly over Christmas with sales up nearly 5% and both Waitrose and John Lewis grew market share. Sales were particularly strong in the areas that have been the focus for product innovation this year, such as our Waitrose 1 premium range and John Lewis own-brand fashion.
"However, although we expect to report profits up on last year, trading profit is under pressure. This reflects the greater changes taking place across the retail sector. We expect those to quicken, especially in the next 12 months as the effects of weaker Sterling feed through. We will now accelerate aspects of our strategy. This will involve a period of significant change, investment and innovation to ensure the partnership's success."
The retailer's outlook is positive, but tempered by factors such as continued deflation and rising costs, which are set to lead to increased competition and slower sales growth.