John Lewis sales fell 10.7% excluding VAT in the week to last Saturday, affected by store closures for Easter Sunday and the Royal Wedding.
Including VAT, sales were down 9.2%. All stores open more than a year recorded negative sales even with the benefit of higher VAT. The 8.4% decline recorded by Edinburgh was the best performance, while Cribbs Causeway, Cheadle and Reading brought up the rear with sales falls of 20% or more.
Sales at johnlewis.com were up 18.3%, below the run rate for the year so far of 27%.
Head of multi-channel content Helen Keppel-Compton pointed out that the figures were affected by Easter Sunday, when all stores were closed, and the half-day closure of stores for the Royal Wedding, and said there were “some decent days of trade midweek”. She said that this week “the weather is set to be kind and we can look forward to getting back to normal”.
Waitrose had a slower week on a strict calendar comparison owing to Easter Sunday store closures, with sales up 1.4%. But finance director Tom Athron described it as an “outstanding week”, pointing out that sales were up 23.1% compared with the immediate post-Easter week last year, which he said was the best comparison, and like-for-like sales were up 4.7%.
Traditional British foods and party and barbeque fare were in demand, as were newspapers the day after the wedding - up 27% on the same Saturday last year.