John Lewis: Click and collect service overtakes home delivery as online sales grow 19%

The delivery option accounted for over half of online orders over Christmas

"Click and collect" overtook home deliveries at John Lewis over Christmas – as the retailer relied on internet purchases to boost sales during the festive period.

Online takings grew by 19 per cent, representing 36 per cent of trade, with the click and collect delivery option accounting for more than half (56 per cent) of online orders.

Despite counter sales falling by around one per cent, like-for-like sales across the retailer grew by 4.8 per cent for the five weeks to 27 December. Total sales were £777 million.

Managing director Andy Street said despite the fall, the sales performance from its outlets was ahead of rivals.

"I am utterly confident that our shop result will beat the market," he said.

The 150-year-old company's like-for-like store sales for the year-to-date were ahead by about 2.5 per cent, but its reliance on online reflects a growing trend in retail - with recent Christmas figures from Next also showing web sales led the way as it posted a solid performance.

However, John Lewis is also pressing ahead with plans to grow its store numbers from 42 currently to 65, with a focus on locations such as Birmingham, Leeds and Oxford.

Establishing a physical shop presence is seen by Mr Street as key to winning internet customers - so that they can browse products in store before placing orders or use them as locations to pick up click and collect purchases.

Mr Street said: "The role of the shop is absolutely critical in providing the online sales."

John Lewis said the standout event had been the success of its Black Friday promotions, which resulted in record sales during that week at the end of November, and then a lull before trading picked up in the run in Christmas.

"This year confirmed the new shape of trade for Christmas, with an early peak at the end of November driven by Black Friday and last-minute gift buying," said Mr Street.

The group is one of the first in the British sector to report on its performance in the weeks running up to Christmas, a key trading period.

Next said earlier this week it had enjoyed a solid rise in Christmas sales, especially online, without having to resort to the discounting seen on many shopping streets.

Updates are due next week from Marks & Spencer and supermarket groups Tesco and Sainsbury.

For the year ahead, many retailers are more optimistic on their prospects given rising incomes and higher employment.

The John Lewis numbers do not include results from the Waitrose supermarket chain which is part of the wider John Lewis Partnership. Waitrose on 2 January reported a provisional 6.5 percent rise in sales excluding fuel in the two weeks to 27 December.

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