John Lewis enjoyed bumper sales in the pivotal seven days before Christmas, with the retailer hailing its “biggest ever week” in fashion.
In the week to December 23, sales at John Lewis department stores jumped 8.9% to £191.3m.
The retailer said this was driven by “strong performances in all three product categories”, as last-minute Christmas shoppers made a dash for stores and made use of the firm’s extended click-and-collect service.
Fashion sales were up 8.8% year on year, with particularly strong performances in own-brand womenswear – up 26% – cold weather clothing – up 18% – and cashmere – also up 18%.
Home sales were up 7% on last year, led by strong performances in cookware, Christmas wrapping, alcohol and chocolate gifts.
Electricals and home technology surged 11.3%, driven by a record sales week in audio.
Trading in the following week to December 30 was more subdued, with sales slipping 0.4% year on year to £137.9m.
The retailer put this down to snowfall in some parts of the country, and insisted its clearance Sales had started well.
It enjoyed a “record sales week” in womenswear, but home sales declined 4.5%.
Waitrose achieved a marginal 0.5% sales increase year on year in the week preceding Christmas, generating £247m.
In the week after, sales jumped 3.5% to £113.9m, driven, the grocer said, by Christmas Eve falling in the second week, compared with the first week last year.
John Lewis Partnership
Across the partnership, sales increased 4% to £438.5m in the week before Christmas.
In the seven days to December 30, total sales edged up 1.3% to £251.8m.
The retail group will give a full update on Christmas trading on January 11.