John Lewis sales jumped 9.3% to £124m in the week to December 1 as online “stole the show”.
JohnLewis.com recorded its best week ever, up 38% year-on-year. Its click-and-collect service represented a third of all online orders, soaring 85%. The retailer had more than a million visits to its mobile website this week for the first time.
John Lewis head of online delivery and customer experience Sean O’Connor said: “As we hit the critical peak weeks we are in great shape, and are well placed for a strong run into Christmas. This week has got off to a storming start with Cyber Monday kick-starting December’s sales online. Operationally we are in great form and we are well set to enjoy peak trading.”
Electricals, home and technology sales rocketed 21.5% against last year. The retailer said it was clearly being seen as a destination for Christmas technology gifts as sales of tablets and ebook readers delivered a 31% uplift in communication technology.
Small electricals also notched up its best ever week with a 30% revenue jump against last year.
Through its Never Knowingly Undersold price promise, John Lewis price matched a wide range of competitor activity over the week and in fashion, customers picked up discounted brands across womenswear, handbags and shoes. The chilly weather has also driven demand for outerwear, knitwear and Ugg boots, resulting in total fashion sales up 6.3% against last year.
Home sales edged up 2.9% with textiles and carpets sales up 8% and bed linen selling “well” as the nights get colder. The department store said shop trade was “tough” but its strongest sales increase was within its ‘at home’ formats.
At sister chain Waitrose sales grew 7.8% over the week and online revenue soared 58.2%.
Waitrose finance director Tom Athron said: “This year shoppers are continuing to plan their seasonal celebrations early with orders of all seasonal meats already up by 33% on last year and turkeys orders alone up 70%. Preparations are gathering pace to get homes ready as well, with sales of Christmas decorations sailing ahead of last year by 142%.”
The retailer said sales had continued to accelerate since the launch of its innovative Christmas range, from which the Heston From Waitrose mulled cider gammon was in hot demand.
Sales of party food rose by more than 16%, with this year’s top canapé set to be brie and cranberry tartlets, which experienced an 80% uplift.
Waitrose said that patriotic consumers have been keen to add some “authentic British sparkle” to their festive celebrations, with sales of English and Welsh fizz up 30% last week.