John Lewis Christmas sales up 36% despite tough festive period for retailers

The partnership has bucked the trend of other high street names who have warned of slumping sales

Ben Chapman@b_c_chapman
Wednesday 04 January 2017 17:37
The partnership said sales were boosted by the fall of the bank holidays in 2016
The partnership said sales were boosted by the fall of the bank holidays in 2016

John Lewis saw sales surge by more than a third in the run-up to Christmas, with a similar boost of 31.1 per cent at its Waitrose supermarkets, despite tough trading conditions for retailers.

The employee-owned partnership said the fall of the bank holidays helped the numbers as two extra days of trading in the run-up to Christmas this year compared to 2015. Sales fell 9.4 per cent in week between Christmas and New Year.

English sparkling wine saw particularly strong growth with sales up by more than two thirds, while Champagne was up by a more modest 13 per cent.

Families looking for alternatives to the traditional turkey on Christmas Day helped sales of duck lift 13 per cent, beef rise 6 per cent and slow-cooked meats surge by 63 per cent.

John Lewis will announce more comprehensive results for the six weeks to the end of the year next week, when a number of retailers will reveal their Christmas sales.

"As expected, entertaining was a key theme throughout the two week period with customers getting ready to impress their guests," said Rupert Thomas, marketing director at Waitrose.

"Party food was up 14 per cent, Christmas cakes were up nine per cent and frozen desserts were up 11 per cent."

The announcement comes as Next sparked fears that many retailers had suffered a tougher-than-expected festive period. In a dire trading update it issued a profit warning and said 2017 would be “even tougher”.

John Lewis boosted sales by starting its online clearance sale at 5pm on Christmas Eve, leading to its busiest hour of the season between 6pm and 7pm.

Some shoppers were still bargain hunting on Christmas Day, with the online orders peaking between 9pm and 10pm. Best-sellers so far in online clearance sales include Mulberry handbags, Dyson vacuum cleaners and Samsung televisions, as well as beauty gift sets.

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