Department store's sales soar by 7.6 per cent

The department store group John Lewis has emerged as one of the big winners of the Christmas battle on the high street after underlying sales soared 7.6 per cent over the past five weeks.

Following a barnstorming performance in the rest of 2010, the festive trading update puts the 32-store retailer on track for record sales – and possibly profits – for its financial year that ends this month.

While John Lewis expects a more modest performance this year, the retailer is also "budgeting for growth" in 2011 and does not subscribe to the "doom and gloom" outlook for the sector in the wake of the squeeze on consumer spending.

The department store chain – which along with the grocer Waitrose forms the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) – topped a number of company records in the five weeks to 1 January.

These included its best weekly sales of £121m, its biggest day at £27.8m and record days at a number of individual stores. Andrew Murphy, the retail director at John Lewis, said: "We are increasingly getting the sense that looking at competitors' numbers we are taking market share, although we are still quite early in the Christmas reporting season."

John Lewis cited sales growth of 14.4 per cent in electricals and home technology, an 8.7 per cent leap in fashion, including beauty, and a 4.7 per cent rise in home, over the five weeks, as categories where it believes it has grown market share.

Mr Murphy said: "We are budgeting for growth in John Lewis this year. The distance between the winners and losers in UK retail will continue to be quite pronounced." Online sales soared by 42 per cent over the past five weeks, helping annual revenues from John Lewis's website to pass £500m for the first time, in just 11 months.

Andy Street, the managing director of John Lewis, said: "Online sales soared during the first snowfall as customers struggled to get to the shops. When the weather turned for a second time closer to Christmas, shoppers wanted the reassurance of having their goods in their hands and our shops saw sales surge as a result."

While Mr Murphy would not be drawn on figures, it is thought that John Lewis is targeting sales growth of about 4 per cent this year.

He said: "Overall, we don't subscribe to the doom and gloom philosophy on 2011. Modest sales growth will be the order of the day rather than people fighting for their lives."

JLP delivered pre-tax profits, before staff bonus payments, of £307m in the year to 30 January 2010. Given strong sales at Waitrose and John Lewis so far in 2010, this year's figure could come close to the record £379.8m profits delivered in 2008.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific