John Lewis says its department stores enjoyed an “outstanding” Christmas, including a week that saw the sales record broken.
Like-for-like sales in the last five weeks of 2011 rose 6.2% on those of the same period the year before, while total sales – which take in those at newly-opened stores – during that time were up 9.3%. Homewares put in an especially good performance, with sales increasing by 13.6%.
Said managing director Andy Street: “Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding.
“During that period, we broke the record for our biggest week ever with a sterling total of £133.1m for the week ending December 17.”
However, John Lewis’ sales following the Christmas period have dipped sharply, down 4.8% in the first post-festive week when compared to 2010. Its clearance sale is also failing to attract the same numbers of shoppers as last year.
“The first week of clearance saw a very strong start, but against the pre-VAT increase week in 2010, it was always going to be a challenge to match sales, particularly with big-ticket items,” Street said.
And he sounded a note of caution about the year ahead: “Trade in 2012 will undoubtedly be challenging and economic conditions volatile.”