John Lewis has reported a rise in sales for last week and expects revenue increases to accelerate in the coming days as shoppers leave it late to buy Christmas goodies.
Sales increased 1.4% year on year to £149.9m last week. On a week-on-week basis, sales jumped 3.7%, reflecting the “building momentum” of Christmas trading.
John Lewis said it expects “further acceleration in Christmas sales, continuing the trend for concentrated Christmas shopping up to the very last minute across both shops and online”.
The home category achieved the “stand-out” result of the last seven days, reporting a record week “as customers put the final touches to their homes in advance of the festive season”. Sales of roasting tins and carving trays jumped and demand for crackers, gift wrap and tags grew.
Furniture was the best-performing department, with sales surging 21% on last year.
Womenswear, childrenswear and beauty in particular drove a strong performance in fashion.
Online sales jumped 13.2%.
John Lewis reported that its own book that tells the story of the bear and the hare featured in its TV ad is its most popular children’s title.
This week the retailer introduced “new technological developments” including mapping its Oxford Street store using Google Street View, transactional tablets and mobile charging stations in store.
John Lewis retail director Andrew Murphy said: “We intend to keep investing and innovating this Christmas so that our shops remain compelling and hassle-free places for customers, offering multiple reasons to visit them. Partly this will see us use an increasing amount of technology to make shopping easier and offer more “in shop help”.
“But this is also going to be about offering inspiring experiences, and in that vein, we are delighted to report that our recently-launched partnership with Scandinavian cafe brand, Joe & the Juice, has got off to a fantastic start, with sales almost 20% ahead of expectations for the first 10 days.
“This week we have launched three further developments to ensure that we remain the most helpful retailer in the UK for customers. John Lewis Oxford Street is the first department store in the world to be fully mapped by Google Street View, allowing customers to navigate our flagship shop by taking a virtual walk through the aisles.
“The second initiative sees our Cheadle, Brent Cross and Peter Jones shops introduce in store transactional tablets - enabling customers to make stock queries and skip queues at the till by making their purchases directly with the partner who advised them.
“Peter Jones is also involved in the final development along with our Watford shop where we are trialling Chargebox, a free-to-use mobile phone charging station, which allows you to shop for longer without fear of falling out of touch with friends, family or the web.”