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Business News

John Lewis predicts record mega Mondays

Retailer expects to beat £7.4m online sales in last two big days of Christmas

John Lewis has revealed its online sales will smash all records this month, with "three Mega Mondays in a row", convincing the high street chain to launch foreign language websites next year.

Andy Street, the chain's managing director, said the online push into Germany and France marks the development into a truly international business. He also forecast that the 39-store retailer would deliver total sales growth of 5 per cent for 2013.

That said, John Lewis is not the only chain to have benefited from the favourable autumn and early winter weather. Big Four accountant Deloitte has forecast that sales across the retail industry will rise by 1 per cent over the crucial Christmas trading period, despite the consumer downturn.

Its website delivered storming sales of about £7.4m on 3 December, which had been expected to be the busiest online shopping day of the year, dubbed Mega Monday.

Mr Street said: "Our sales and orders were both 40 per cent up on last year's Mega Monday. It was a fantastic day's business for us."

He added: "We actually think that tomorrow will beat it and maybe another record on 17 December. There will be three Mega Mondays in a row."

While John Lewis already delivers to 33 countries, it will follow rivals, such as Marks & Spencer, in launching its own dedicated French and German websites. Mr Street said: "It reflects that John Lewis is determined to steadily build an international business."

The retailer started selling its own-brand homewares overseas for the first time in a tie-up with the South Korean department store Shinsegae this year.

Boosted by online sales and a strong performance in its shops, John Lewis has shown its rivals a clean pair of heels in 2012. Mr Street said: "With our sales up over 12 per cent so far this year and ahead of the market, it is understandable that we appear to have lost our retail bellwether status."

Mr Street explained that while a forecast of 5 per cent sales growth in 2013 would represent a slowdown on this year's growth, John Lewis had benefited from one-off events: the digital switch-over, which boosted television sales; the Olympics; and the Diamond Jubilee.

The collapse of Comet, the 236-store laptop-to-microwaves chain, in early November appears to have helped John Lewis's electricals department grow sales by a quarter over the past month. Mr Street said: "With Comet's demise, customers are trusting John Lewis's price promise and warranty guarantee."

He added: "The weather has been helpful. We got a proper autumn and the beginnings of a proper winter."