John Lewis breaks sales record

John Lewis’ much praised Christmas advertising campaign has helped the department store group register a record week of sales as Christmas shoppers return to the high streets after last week’s snow.

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The department store group says sales reached £121m in the week to 11 December, a 10% increase on the same week last year and 16.7% up on the previous week.

Sales are also 8% higher than John Lewis’s previous record sales week, which peaked at £112m in 2009.

Online sales increased 45% compared to last year.

The John Lewis Christmas ad campaign has also attracted criticism from animal rights groups for featuring a dog outside in the snow.

Meanwhile, The British Retail Consortium has revealed that retailers believe this Christmas trading period will be no worse than last year.

Almost a third (64%) of retailers think Christmas trading will be the same or better than last year, while only 36% are preparing for a fall in sales.

The BRC’s Christmas Trading Snapshot Survey revealed that 41 % of retailers are running more promotions and discounts than last year.

The majority (71%) believe that the rise in VAT o 20% in January is making consumers bring purchases forward which will negatively impact sales in January.

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium director general, says: “Promotions have hit a new level of intensity, retailers believe the next VAT rise is bringing sales forward and Christmas is usually a time when people spend despite their economic worries but ultimately December could prove to be the ninth month in a row of weak year-on-year growth.”

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