The retailer held a number of events aimed at getting consumers spending with John Lewis as they start to prepare for Christmas. This included the launch of its Christmas shop at its flagship Oxford Street store on Thursday (21 November), as well as festive events such as Christmas jumper decorating and pop-up boutiques over the weekend.
The marketing push appears to be translating into sales, with reported receipts for the week to 24 November up 10.3 per cent compared to the previous seven days to £111.9m – the highest weekly total so far this year.
John Lewis also continues to generate online buzz with its “the bear and the hare” animated Christmas ad, which has now had 8.3 million views on YouTube. Last week, the retailer launched a competition to give one winner the chance to record their own version of the spot’s soundtrack, Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” and have it played out on TV on Christmas Day.
Maggie Porteous, director of selling operations at John Lewis, says: “Across the country our partners have been working hard to give customers a weekend full of festive fun and our Christmas TV ad continues to get lovely responses.”
Sales were up 2.1 per cent year on year, although the rate of growth is down compared to 2012, when sales rose by almost 11 per cent. Porteous says this is due to “tough” comparisons with last year due to “Black Friday”, a day when retailers traditionally offer deals and discounts to get customers spending in store, falling in a different week. Online sales were up 9.4 per cent year on year.
John Lewis says top sellers this week include a Scandi chic reindeer head and a carol singer tealight lantern, while online, a snowy paper tree and LED pre-lit reindeer proved popular. Continuing cold weather also meant sales of outerwear were strong, while the electricals department was boosted by the launch of Microsoft’s new Xbox One console, which sold out within two hours of being available online.
Christmas sales are expected to offer some cheer to retailers this year, with Deloitte forecasting that improving economic conditions will encourage shoppers to spend more. It expects total spend to top £40bn this year, up 3.5 per cent year on year, while online will rise by almost a fifth to hit £5bn.