Online sales boost John Lewis

Britain’s biggest department store chain, John Lewis said its sales rose 7 per cent year-on-year in the week to December 19, driven by a 30.3 per cent jump in online sales.

John Lewis store, York exterior by Gerard Binks. GB100144a

The employee-owned firm said sales totalled £171.8m. Sales in the firm’s electricals and home technology department rose 16.2 per cent, while sales in the home division were up 5.1 per cent.

Fashion sales rose 1.9 per cent despite mild weather meaning sales of cold weather clothing were down.

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Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said: “Customers clearly want to keep shopping right through to Christmas Eve, and with the final few shopping days left we are expecting our shops to be incredibly busy as people are off work.”

John Lewis is the only major British retailer to publish weekly sales data, providing the most up-to-date snapshot of shopping trends.

It has outperformed rivals for the last six years, helped by a strong online offering, modern stores and bias to the more prosperous south east of England.

Consumers have driven the country’s economic recovery over the past two years, helped by a plunge in inflation to around zero. But wage growth remains weak and has not recovered its levels of before the financial crisis.

British retail sales grew slightly less than expected in the run-up to Christmas and the outlook for January was weak, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Monday.