John Lewis powers ahead with 8% Christmas sales boost

Not even the snow could stop us doing our festive shopping at John Lewis. We just bought online instead.

by James Taylor
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
Yet another hugely impressive set of sales figures from John Lewis: the all-conquering retailer proclaimed this morning that it had an 'outstanding' Christmas, with like-for-like sales up 7.6% for the last five weeks of 2010. The snowy weather clearly had some impact, but the principal effect seems to have been to drive more business to John Lewis's online portal, where sales were up by almost a half on last year. Is there no end to our desperation to spend our money at John Lewis?

No less than £545m went through the tills at John Lewis and Waitrose during the period. As you'd expect in the run-up to Christmas, electrical and technology items sold particularly well, up a whopping 14.4% on last year, with fashion up nearly 9% and homeware up almost 5%. Clearly some shoppers were keen to snap up big-ticket items before the VAT hike, because TVs, computers and sofas all flew off the shelves (not literally of course; that would be a real health and safety issue).

In fact, John Lewis seems to think that it gained market share in pretty much every category. And judging by these sales figures - which included its biggest ever week (£121m sales) and its biggest ever day (£28m) - it may well have a point. What’s more, that big leap in online sales (which surpassed the £500m mark) appears to back up MD Andy Street's claim that its Christmas success 'confirms our strength as a multi-channel retailer'.

These are good times for John Lewis, which doesn't seem to have put a foot wrong for as long as we can remember. It's almost universally liked and admired, thanks in no small part to its unusual partnership model, and it appears to have got its advertising, product mix and pricing spot on. Of course it won't be immune to the pressures all retailers are going to feel in the coming 12 months. But if you were going to pick anyone to not only survive but thrive this year, John Lewis would be very near the top of that list.

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