John Lewis has reported “solid” trading as sales jumped 8.8% last week to £64.97m, while Eurovision parties give Waitrose a boost

John Lewis weekly sales, May 24, 2013

John Lewis said the performance across both its shops and its website was “pleasing”.

Sales were boosted by the mild weather and the fact that the department store retailer price matched a competitor’s promotional event, which drove the fashion performance in particular. Sales were up 13.9% in the category, with beauty and women’s accessories “leading the way”, according to Maggie Porteous, director of selling, North and new format at John Lewis.

Home was “tougher”, said Porteous, who said John Lewis was up against a tough week last year, when trade was boosted by the Jubilee and Olympic Games. However, sales still climbed 1.7%, with Outdoor Living doing particularly well.

The electricals category was “on form”, with sales up 11.7% as the retailer benefited from an improved lens assortment. Both large and small items “continued their excellent form”, said Porteous.

Online sales surged 22.9% while the top-performing stores were Tamworth, Glasgow, Leicester, Trafford and Milton Keynes.

“And the signs are looking strong for this week,” said Porteous. “We have some fabulous assortments, which are being strongly promoted in our shops, and our customers will be wanting to get ready for the bank holiday, and for some the half-term break.”

At sister retailer Waitrose, sales were up 9.4% to £115.3m driven by Eurovision, the final day of the Premier League season and a “nation determined to defy the colder weather”. “saw very strong growth” with sales 42.4% - higher than this time last year, said Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas.

As shoppers prepared for their Eurovision parties, continental foods flew off the shelves, including Danish pastries, meatballs and chicken kievs.

The end of the football season drove sales of frozen pizza, Food To Go, crisps and beer.

And despite the cold weather, food associated with al fresco dining “sizzled”.

Waitrose won Gold at The Chelsea Flower Show and the upmarket grocer said it is already seeing the ‘Chelsea bounce’, with sales of flowers growing 21%.