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Proactive parents boost John Lewis sales

by LLB Editor
28th Oct 11 2:53 pm

“Organised parents” buying long in advance of Christmas helped drive up sales by four per cent at John Lewis last week, offsetting the impact of unseasonal weather conditions.

The London-headquartered department store said toy sales had increased as parents bought presents well ahead of December 25. Sales of womenswear and childrenswear helped generate “excellent” fashion receipts for the week to October 22, it said.

Uneven temperatures boosted the sales of both “cooling and heating” items, while technology and electrical products such as computing and white goods continued to sell well. However, the employee-owned company warned that the weekend had been “disappointing” due to the warmer weather.

IHS Global Insight chief UK economist Howard Archer said the “decent looking” sales figures follow on from the best week of the current year so far at John Lewis.

Branches in Leicester, Trafford and Poole were the best performing of all in the company, while its website accounted for 21.8 per cent of sales, although this is lower than the previous week’s share. Sales for the 12 weeks to October 22 are 2.1 per cent above the same period last year, in comparison to the 13.5 increase in sales the firm enjoyed at the same point in 2010.

Some 24 of John Lewis’ stores experienced a year-on-year drop in sales in the week to October 22, while just six managed to increase the number of sales made, said Archer.

Waitrose, the supermarket arm of the John Lewis Partnership, boosted its sales by 11.8 per cent, partially due to good sales of Halloween and Christmas products. A Classic Christmas Cake ingredients pack by TV chef Delia Smith went on sale a week earlier than in 2010, helping to increase sales. Cake tin sales went up by almost 15 per cent as a result of the Delia Classic Cake Box’s popularity, said Waitrose.

Heston Blumenthal’s mince pies range also proved popular with shoppers, while beef sales went up by 15 per cent due to a buy three for £10 offer. Sales at Waitrose are up by 10.3 per cent so far this year.

Meanwhile, John Lewis hopes to encourage people to become multi-channel shoppers by introducing free Wi-Fi and “digital champions” into its stores. Customers will be allowed to get online and visit rival stores’ websites once they have provided their email address, so they can see if a product is available for less elsewhere.

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