John Lewis & Partners achieved gross sales of £1160m over the Christmas period (the seven weeks to 5th January 2019) – up +2.5% YoY (+1.0% on a LFL basis).
The trading period was defined by a longer Black Friday promotion, a strong week running into Christmas (including a record Christmas Eve in shops as customers took advantage of the full shopping weekend) and an encouraging first week of clearance sales, and LFL sales outperformed the market once again.
Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield says: "Two main factors are affecting the retail sector - oversupply of physical space and relatively weak consumer demand. Despite this, we had a positive Christmas trading period thanks to the extraordinary efforts of partners in our business, delivering differentiated products and service to customers.
"We continue to expect FY total partnership profits to be substantially lower this year, driven by slower sales growth over the year and margin pressure in John Lewis & Partners along with higher costs, mainly as a result of our continued investment in our IT capability. The actions taken in recent years to prepare for the current pressures in retail mean that the partnership has the financial strength and flexibility to pay a modest bonus this year, without impacting our ambitious investment programme. However, the board will need to consider carefully in March, following the usual process, whether payment of a bonus is prudent in the light of business and economic prospects at that time."