Strong performances from fashion and beauty helped John Lewis to a solid week’s trading in the week to 21 May, but Waitrose had a slower week.
John Lewis sales were up by 3.2% excluding VAT, or 5.3% once VAT is taken into account. Fashion was up 11.5%, with women’s brands up 21.8%, handbags up 19.3% and men’s formalwear up 26.8%. Beauty had a storming week too, with premium brands up 31.2%. Other highlights were cookshop, gifts for the home, electricals and home computing.
Online sales were up 28.3%, and womenswear sales on the web doubled on last year. Among the branches, Trafford was top performer with sales up 11.6%, and Cribbs Causeway, Peter Jones, Glasgow and Edinburgh also showing decent increases. However sales still fell in most branches with the first At Home store in Poole suffering a 21.8% fall in sales.
At Waitrose, sales were up 6.4%, compared to 8.7% for the year so far. Four regions showed a decline in total sales. Retail director Tony Solomons said the performance was against tough comparatives from last year when the weather had been very hot. Sales patterns were reminiscent of Autumn, Solomons said, with coffee, soup, meat joints and frozen pies among the strong performing categories.