Online shopping drives John Lewis sales as high street stores suffer

Department store reports lower Christmas sales at 40% of outlets, but online sales surge 22%

In a sign that Christmas trading has been harder than usual for retailers, the high street bellwether John Lewis reported sales at about 40 per cent of its stores were down on the previous festive period.

Total sales over the five weeks to 28 December jumped 7.2 per cent compared with 2012, or 6.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis, hitting £734m. However, nearly all of the growth came from online sales, which now account for about one in three of all John Lewis purchases, up from 26.5 per cent in 2012.

Online sales jumped 22.6 per cent, compared with a 1.2 per cent expansion for store sales.

"We are still growing and we're pleased about that" said John Lewis managing director Andy Street. He also claimed vindication for his decision to hold off from heavily discounting until after Christmas Day, unlike some rivals.

Mr Street revealed that when sales on 27 December finally started, takings hit an all-time high of £35.6m for a single day's trading.

John Lewis is usually the first to report Christmas trading figures, however Debenhams released an unexpected profit warning on Tuesday as bosses admitted Christmas had been disastrous for the company.

Debenhams said profits would be down £15m more than expected as the final-week boost before Christmas failed to materialise. Analysts expect profits at Marks & Spencer, which cut clothing prices by 30 per cent over the weekend before Christmas, also to have suffered.

Retail sales account for about only 6 per cent of GDP, but they are regarded as an important barometer of wider consumer sentiment, which has largely been driving the recovery over the past 12 months.

Christmas is a crucial trading period for most retailers. Earlier this week Ipsos Mori's Retail Traffic Index showed that customer trips to non-food stores last month rose 0.7 per cent year on year.

Electricals and home technology performed particularly well for John Lewis, with sales up 10.7 per cent. Some commentators have pointed out that the margins in electricals are much lower than in other departments, however Mr Street said that sales were strong enough across the whole company for this not to be a concern.

"Electrical sales were ahead of our forecasts and it was not just technology like iPads and tablets," he said. "Things like coffee machines, mixers, blenders and other small electrical gifts sold really well."

Elsewhere, fashion and beauty was up 8.5 per cent, which could be an interesting indicator for other fashion retailers when they report their results after many have privately bemoaned the mild autumn and winter weather.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Neil Warnock
football'New' manager for Crystal Palace
News
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicKate Bush set to re-enter album charts after first conerts in 35 years
Sport
Angel Di Maria poses with Louis van Gaal after signing for Manchester United
sport
Arts and Entertainment
BBC series 'Sherlock' scooped a hat-trick of awards on the night. Benedict Cumberbatch received the award for Actor, Miniseries or Movie ('Sherlock: His Last Vow') while Martin Freeman won the award for Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie. Neither actor was present to collect their awards
tv
Life and Style
tech
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Client Services Executive / Account Executive - SW London

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Executive / Client Services ...

PA to CEO / Executive Secretary

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Executive PA to CEO & Executive Dire...

Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

Management Accountant

£30-35k + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Management Accoun...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis