John Lewis today published its five-week sales update, revealing an ‘omnichannel Christmas’.
For the five weeks to December 27 2014, total sales were £777m, +5.8% compared with last year, +4.8% on a like-for-like basis. Compared with two years ago total sales were +13.4% while like-for-like sales grew by 12.0%. Online sales for the five weeks were +19% on last year, with johnlewis.com representing 36% (versus 32% last year) of total John Lewis sales during this period. The Click & Collect delivery option proved to be the delivery means of choice, with 56% of online orders collected in shops, overtaking home delivery this Christmas.
Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said: “This year confirmed the new shape of trade for Christmas, with an early peak at the end of November driven by Black Friday and last minute gift buying. With Black Friday driving a higher proportion of online sales and customers increasingly wanting more convenience, this has meant a real concentration on fulfilment, making this a truly ‘logistics Christmas’. The investments we have made and the new capabilities we have built in recent years in distribution and IT have been fundamental in ensuring we successfully navigate this changing shape of trade.”
Sales in the department store group’s shops for the five weeks remained level with last year while the ‘At Home’ and new format shops, including Exeter, Poole, Chichester, Heathrow and St Pancras, grew their business during the Christmas season.
Andy Street said: “Our shops continue to have a critical role to play in the omnichannel shopping journey, and will be a major development focus for us over the coming months. To that end, we will be opening two further ‘At Home’ shops in Horsham and Basingstoke in 2015 as well as our new regional flagship in the heart of Birmingham in September, which will set an exciting new benchmark in bricks and mortar retailing.”
He added that the stand-out feature ‘driving a new shape of trade’ was John Lewis’ success on Black Friday (November 28). This yielded an early sales peak and impacted the shape of trade over the five-week period. It was the biggest week for sales in the retailer’s 150-year history and was up +22% on last year, with johnlewis.com experiencing a 300% increase in traffic during the early hours of trading on Black Friday itself.
Electricals and Home Technology led the way on Black Friday, and finished with an impressive 6.8% year on year increase for the five week period. Despite enjoying a strong year, Home’s rate of growth slowed to +2.3% on last year for the five-week period. ‘Must-have’ products included the NutriBullet food extractor, Nespresso coffee machine and Kenwood kMix stand mixer.
John Lewis operates 43 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores, 10 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com.