Sales fell at every John Lewis store open for more than a year in the week to 1 October, with the hot weather keeping customers out of the shops.
Sales were down 9.5% excluding VAT, 7.9% on a VAT-inclusive basis. Every store open more than a year saw sales fall, with eight stores showing declines of more than 20%. The worst performers were the big shopping centres, with Bluewater down 27.9% and Cribbs Causeway down 26.5%.
The best performances were in the north where the weather was cooler, with Edinburgh keeping its decline down to 2.7% and Sheffield at -4.8%. Online sales rose 14.3%, half the rate for the half-year so far.
By category fashion sales were down 13%. “Clearly customers were not in the mood to shop for autumnal clothing” said director of operational development Lesley Ballantyne. Electricals and home technology were down 2.2% and home was down 5.8%. However, furniture, premium beauty, communication technology and handbags were picked out as bright spots.
Waitrose’s sales for the week were unaffected, with the increase of 9.7% in line with the year to date, but there was a big shift in the type of products sold. Unsurprisingly sun cream, ice cream, barbecue fare, sandwiches, fizzy drinks, cider and soft fruit were the stand-out lines.
This week Waitrose launched a new campaign to highlight its value proposition called “1000s of ways to great value”, and also opened its online “dark store” to serve the London area for waitrose.com