Sales slow down at John Lewis as weather heats up

The hot weather which settled over the UK last week resulted in a slowdown in sales for John Lewis as Britain basked in the heatwave.

Last week (to July 23) the department store group’s sales totalled £73.3m: a decline of -4.3% on a strong week last year.

As Britain enjoyed its hottest day of the year on Tuesday with temperatures in excess of 30deg C, warm weather items such as natural low tog duvets (+41%) and outdoor living (+31.1%) proved popular as customers looked to beat the heat with their purchases.

John Lewis director of retail services Barry Matheson said customers also began to take advantage of the start of the school holidays by heading abroad to spend time with their families. This was reflected by a 16.5% rise in sales at John Lewis Heathrow year-on-year.

EHT (Electricals & Home Technology) sales finished the week at up 6.4% year-on-year. Unsurprisingly it was home cooling products such as fans and air conditioning units were the driving force, up by over 3000% year-on-year, whilst the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer also enjoyed its biggest week since launch.

The Pokémon GO phenomenon also bolstered the category, with sales of portable mobile chargers up 86% as players sought a way to combat the app’s high battery usage.

The heatwave had a bigger impact on the Fashion and Home categories, which finished down 7% and down 11.2% respectively as customers chose to make the most of the British summer.

A dip in footfall meant that big ticket items had a slower week in Home, and Fashion numbers were dampened by a drop off in schoolwear purchases as the summer holidays begun.

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