Sales at John Lewis department stores surged 11.2% to £63.84m last week as shoppers snapped up Olympics merchandise.
In the last full week before the Olympics, which officially kick off today with the opening ceremony, the bellwhether retailer said London 2012 merchandise helped sales from gift collections soar 60%.
At its store in Westfield Stratford City, next to the Olympic Stadium, “athletes and their entourages [are] boosting home sales as they added their own touch to the Olympic Village”, John Lewis reported.
The retailer has been selling more than 1,000 replica Olympic torches each week and Team GB Lego minifigures have also been in demand.
“We are racing through them – it’s officially our best-selling unit product in a week and with the event still to come,” said John Lewis head of merchandising, central operations, Susan Young. “The momentum around London 2012 is unlikely to drop.”
On Monday John Lewis ‘wrapped’ four of its stores, including Stratford, in Olympic banners. Young said: “Stratford sales are weighted towards London 2012 products, with one customer buying £10,000 worth of coins.”
Across the business, all categories saw a sales uplift last week.
Electricals and home technology sales rocketed 32.5% and the “gold medal” went to communications technology - up 83.4%, boosted by iPad sales.
Fashion sales rose 7.6% as better weather drove seasonal sales. The retailer said newness delivered strong sales, particularly in womenswear and beauty.
Home delivered “slightly mixed results”, up 0.9% overall. The bath shop did well, rising 14.5%, as did lighting.
At sister retailer Waitrose, sales increased 8.7% to £107.59m as the warm weather prompted demand for summery food and drink.
Barbecue meats rose 47% while suncare sales grew 29%.
Sports fans have been “stocking up for a fortnight of celebrations with friends and families” and champagne sales climbed 19%.
Sales of yellow food colouring rocketed 246%, which the retailer attributed to Bradley Wiggins’ success in the Tour de France.