• John Lewis sales increase 6.9% in week to February 20
  • Big-ticket electrical and furniture items drive “strong” performance
  • Sister retail Waitrose posts 3.6% sales uplift
  • Romantic shoppers provide upmarket grocer with Valentine’s Day boost

John Lewis sales surged 6.9% last week as the retailer cashed in on a “strong week’s trade” during the half term school holidays.

John Lewis weekly sales February 20

John Lewis weekly sales February 20

The department store giant’s sales advanced to £75.15m in the seven days to February 20 as shoppers flocked to stores to make big-ticket purchases.

Home sales increased 7.8% with furniture leading from the front, posting growth in both upholstery and beds.

Consumers also snapped up goods in John Lewis’s electricals and home technology category, which posted an 11.1% rise in sales. The retailer said that was driven by demand for Microsoft products and television soundbars.

The performance of beauty and menswear lines drove a 1.9% uplift in fashion, as John Lewis head of retail development Mark Blundell said there were “plenty of reasons to be positive” ahead of Mother’s Day.

Waitrose rise

Sister retailer Waitrose also posted rising sales during the seven-day period as the school half term and Valentine’s Day boosted performance.

Sales excluding fuel increased 3.6% during the week to February 20 as young families made time to bake cakes during the week-long holiday.

Ingredients including dried fruit and nuts were up 81% and 15% respectively, while essences and colourings reported an 8% rise.

Prepared meal solutions also posted “significant” growth as sales of the upmarket grocer’s Waitrose Easy to Cook range blossomed 15%, while fresh vegetables increased 17%.

Sales of fresh soft fruit grew 11% and frozen fruit advanced 17%, driven by the “increasing popularity” of the Nutribullet.

Waitrose added that cards and gift wrapping sales rocketed 82% on Valentine’s Day and champagne improved 18% as romantics left it late to treat their partners.