Department store chain John Lewis and grocery stablemate Waitrose have both reported strong trading in the final week of their financial year.
John Lewis stores posted a 15.6% sales advance, bringing the total to £50m in the week to January 30. Managing director Andy Street said that after “a cracking January and an impressive half year” the business is “in fine form”.
Waitrose’s weekly sales climbed 15.7% to £89.7m. Managing director Mark Price said : “We’ve been phenomenally successful during the second half.”
At John Lewis, fashion, childrenswear, toys and haberdashery “stole the show” with “phenomenal” gains against the market, said Street.
He described menswear’s second half as “awesome” and observed that “home finished with a flourish” and electricals and home technology achieved “another market-beating result”. Johnlewis.com ended the year 19% ahead.
Street said: “What’s the lesson of this success? Perhaps predictably I’ll say it’s loyalty to the proven formula of inspiring product, great service and relentless operational excellence.”
Price said Waitrose’s total sales excluding petrol were up 15.1% year on year in the second half. He said: “At the start of the trading year we were in the midst of a recession and many predicted that the economic climate would be particularly challenging for us.
“However, we have ended the year by being the fastest growing food retail business in the UK, overtaking Marks & Spencer food sales for the first time in our history. It is a fantastic achievement.”
He expected continued momentum this year as trials with Boots get under way and the convenience store arm grows.