John Lewis posted a 2.1%.drop in sales to £151.8m last week (to December 10).
The department store group’s fashion buying director Ed Connolly said the performance “emphasised the different shape of trade for the Christmas period, marked by the peaks of Black Friday and the final week of December”.
He continued: “Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year means that customers have a full extra day shopping and are likely to leave their purchases until the last minute, as we’ve seen in previous years.”
In the Home category, sales were flat year-on-year overall. Furniture continued its strong run-rate with sales up 6.9%. Dining chairs were up 21% and dining tables were up 48% as people prepared their homes for extra guests.
Upholstery also did well at +16% as customers ordered sofas before the retailer’s final cut-off date for Christmas delivery on upholstery of last Sunday.
Ed added: “With many people decorating their homes last weekend, Christmas shop was up 19% on last year.”
EHT (Electricals & Home Technology) had a “tougher” week at -8.3% year-on-year, with a lower amount of discounting in the post-Black Friday market. Ed commented that so far, the “electricals gift of the year” appears to be the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer, which was John Lewis’ best-selling product last week.
Fashion sales were up 1.2% year-on-year. Womenswear was the stand-out performance at +7.2%, with party wear driving the increase along with cashmere, which posted its biggest ever week and was up 13%. Menswear was up 3.3% and, as with womenswear, own-brand cashmere jumpers led the way.
Beauty, Wellbeing and Leisure also did well at +2%. Creed Aventus was the company’s best-selling men’s fragrance and Liz Earle gift sets were also popular.
Ed concluded: “In Haberdashery, we are now entering our peak weeks, with felt decoration kits and Christmas fabrics among our best sellers.”