John Lewis sales fell 5.2% to £59.84m last week as the retailer suffered from tough Jubilee comparables and seasonal variations.

John Lewis Weekly Sales June 14, 2013

Last week’s warmer weather contrasted with last year’s rainy and cool conditions, John Lewis said.

John Lewis buying and brand director Peter Ruis pointed out that against the same week two years ago, sales were up 12% “when the fall of the calendar was more similar”.

Fashion sales fell 0.9%. Women’s accessories and beauty were the strongest categories, as the warm weather led to a 160% surge in sunglasses sales.

Womenswear also performed well, driven by own-brand ranges.

However, John Lewis’ kids offer suffered from tough comparables, with half term falling in the same week last year. Shoes and toys were “particularly impacted”, said Ruis.

Sales of electricals and home technology declined 4.6% as lower footfall hit sales of communication technology and vision in particular.

Home sales slumped 8.9%, and was the category most affected by the seasonal factors, said Ruis. He added: “Unsurprisingly, this week last year saw our peak week in sales of Jubilee merchandise, particularly affecting the comparisons in cook and dine and home accessories and gifts.”

However, big-ticket trade “held up well” with fitted furniture sales jumping 62%. “Meanwhile, customers really responded to our most weather-dependent ranges with strong results in outdoor living, up 26%, barbecues up 23% and picnicware up 17%,” said Ruis.

Online sales held their momentum, growing 45% as clothing, electricals and click and collect drove performance.

“With Clearance just a week away, our attention now moves to making the most of this trading opportunity,” said Ruis.

At sister retailer Waitrose, sales increased 13.7% to £118.71m last week as the sun drove demand in alfresco dining products.

The upmarket grocer said sun cream sales soared by 165% while barbecue fuels rocketed 175%. Sales of Pimm’s, “the other bellwether of summer weather,” jumped 120%, said Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas.

Salad sales were up 80%, new potatoes increased 43% and sales of feta cheese rose 55%. Barbecue meats soared 64%.

Online sales at jumped 69.9%.