Department store John Lewis took more than half a billion pounds over an “outstanding” Christmas period as clothes and electrical items proved particularly popular with shoppers.
Sales rose by 9.3 per cent to hit £596m in the five weeks to the end of December, the London-headquartered retailer said. John Lewis, which has 35 stores, is considered a bellwether of the retail industry but on this occasion its figures are not expected to reflect the performance of the broader sector.
John Lewis’ click and collect service helped to increase online revenues by 28 per cent, with the number of shoppers taking advantage of the time-saving system nearly doubling. Like-for-like sales, excluding new store openings, rose six per cent.
The company said its price-matching pledge helped it increase its market share in all categories. Electronic items such as Kindles and iPads were among its most popular items, while bedding, linen and cashmere sweaters also sold well.
John Lewis took £133.1m in the week to December 17, smashing its previous weekly sales record. But sales fell back in the week after Christmas as it faced tough comparisons with the year before when shoppers bought up big-ticket items before VAT was increased to 20 per cent.
“Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding,” said the department store’s managing director Andy Street.
Pre-Christmas sales in 2010 were hit by inclement weather as shoppers opted to shelter from the Arctic conditions by staying at home, providing softer comparisons for the latest figures.
Christmas shoppers were keen on perfume and it accounted for half of all beauty sales during one week. The retailer remarked it sold enough Coco Mademoiselle and Chanel No 5 to fill about 3,600 champagne glasses. Other festive best-sellers at John Lewis included speciality chocolate, lingerie and Champagne.
Once the child in the John Lewis advert had eagerly handed over a gift to his parents, he may have opened his own presents to find a storage unit shaped like a giant Lego man’s head or Hexbug mini-robotic creatures, which were among the best-selling toys.
Brightly coloured kitchen utensils such as cupcake cases, measures, pudding bowls and cookie cutters were also popular with shoppers, along with baking gadgets.
Electrical goods have flown off the shelves in its post-Christmas sale, with TVs, laptops, Apple MacBooks, iPod speakers and Dyson vacuum cleaners among the best sellers, while duvets and mattresses have also sold well.
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