Warm weather has adverse effect on department store chain, but lifts trade at Waitrose

John Lewis’s sales stuttered as the warm weather returned last week, but supermarket chain stablemate Waitrose benefited from a Bank Holiday lift.

The department store’s sales inched up by 2.5 per cent in the week to August 25. John Lewis director of retail operations Patrick Lewis said: “We started off the week in buoyant form and were sitting on a double-figure increase after the first three days. Then summer reappeared, footfall dropped off and we had to work much harder for our increases.”

Last Saturday, trading was weak, which dragged its cumulative increase back to 2.5 per cent for the week. Over the period, John Lewis reported steady growth in its back-to-school trade and expects a final surge over the next fortnight.

Sales at Waitrose jumped 6.4 per cent to£72.5 million, driven by strong demand for barbecues, wines, soft fruits and picnics for the Bank Holiday. Waitrose managing director Mark Price said that continued dry weather and post-holiday restocking should drive trade forward this week.

However, Waitrose reported a 16.9 per cent increase the same week last year – an indication of the tougher trading environment supermarkets face this summer.