Against strong figures from last year and changeable weather, sales at John Lewis ended 1.9% down in the week to August 15.
The department store group’s retail director Andrew Murphy said: “Shops found it tough although johnlewis.com remained in growth, up 9.4%. Overall, when assessing our early August sales, we should keep in mind that the Back to School period and seasonal build to the bank holiday weekend are running one week later this year compared to last.”
Within shops, the Poole branch of John Lewis ‘at home’ was the stand-out performer with sales up 5.3% on the year, while Southampton was the best performing full-line shop, up 1%. John Lewis’s newest shop, Horsham, also continued its strong debut, closing the week comfortably ahead of expectations.
While Home sales were down 3.8% on last year, Home Accessories and Gifts posted an increase of 4.5%, primarily due to strong sales in Outdoor Living and Gift Food.
EHT [Electrical & Home Technology] sales were down 2.6% on last year, although there were “encouraging results” in Small Electrical which was up on last year.
Andrew Murphy concluded: “Looking ahead at future opportunities, we are fast approaching the start of the Rugby World Cup, we have just launched the new Home catalogue, refreshed the Interior Design Hub and in Fashion we are seeing lots of newness coming through across both shops and online. We also have building excitement in Birmingham with occupation of our new shop beginning next week.”