‘Black Friday’ delivers record online sales to John Lewis

‘Black Friday’ delivered a record trading day online for John Lewis last week, and was a major factor in the delivery of a ‘stunning’ performance’ for the department store group in the week to November 30, with sales up 18.4% on last year.

The most profound impact was on johnlewis.com, which doubled its former record for a single day’s online orders, with sales up 35.7% on the previous year.

John Lewis director of retail services Barry Matheson said: “Looking at the pattern of trade we can see just how much shopping behaviour is changing. There was a significant uplift in shoppers surfing from midnight to 8am and a spike of over 1,000% in mobile traffic from 7-8am on Friday morning.

He noted: “The term ‘Black Friday’ refers to the day after Thanksgiving when US retailers historically went from being ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’. Only a couple of years ago the phrase was little known in UK retail and while that was beginning to change, I think we will look back on 2013 as the year when ‘Black Friday’ conclusively became a key date in the UK retail calendar.”

During the week, electricals and home technology (EHT) was a primary driving force across all channels. Large white goods and small electrical both achieved record weeks and the category as a whole ended on a record-breaking score, up 41.5% on last year. Trade was a bit softer in the Home assortments, though John Lewis is “definitely seeing evidence of gifting increasing”.

Barry Matheson added that around the branches, High Wycombe delivered a stand-out performance, beating its all-time record day, and many branches reported feeling that they were seeing the real start of Christmas trading.

All of the main regional shopping centres excelled, with 12 full-line shops in double figures. But the best percentage increases went to the ‘at home’ branches with Newbury topping the table at 30% and Tamworth, Poole and Swindon not far behind.

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