John Lewis hails service and value for sales bump

John Lewis has credited its strong service and value proposition for a 9% sales increase over the Christmas and New Year period.

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The department store chain reported a 9.3% rise in total sales to £596m in the five weeks to 31 December and recorded its best ever week of sales reaching £133.1m in the week ending 17 December.

Like for like sales, which exclude new stores opened in the past year, increased 6.2% during the period, compared to the previous year.

Over the Christmas trading period two years ago, total sales up nearly 20% and like for likes up 14.4%.

The strong performance follows John Lewis’ much lauded Christmas advertising campaign and illustrates the trend towards value rather than discounting in the year ahead, as highlighted by marketers across a number of sectors.

Electricals and home technology sales were 4% up, clothing and beauty sales were up 10.3% and homewares increased 13.6% during the five-week period, the retailer sales.

Online sales increased 27.9% and have exceeded £600m for the year to date.

The final week before Christmas (18 to 24 December) saw sales increase 32.7% to £124.7m.

John Lewis says that while its clearance sale has seen “a strong start”, comparisons are with the final week before the VAT increase last year adding that “it was always going to be a challenge to match sales, particularly with ‘big ticket’ items”.

Sales in the final week of the year (25 to 31 December) fell 4.8% year on year.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, says: “Above all our success can be attributed to the excellent service delivered by our partners as well as inspiring products and outstanding value. Although trade in 2012 will undoubtedly be challenging and economic conditions volatile, John Lewis will continue to be the trusted retailer of choice for our customers and will always fulfill its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ promise.”

John Lewis’ performance comes ahead of what are expected to be weaker sales figures amid falling consumer confidence.

Meanwhile, Next has reported “disappointing” retail sales in November and December, despite good trading in the final week before Christmas.

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