John Lewis [IRDX RJLW] today pointed to the changing shape of the Christmas shopping period as it reported a dip in sales over the last week.
The multichannel department store retailer, an Elite retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said that Black Friday and the final week of December were now established as peaks in the pre-Christmas shopping period. But, it pointed out, that comes at the expense of the other December shopping weeks. The retailer today reported sales of £151.8m in the week to December 10 – 2.1% down on the same time last year.
Black Friday is seen as a time to discount electricals goods, and the lack of promotions over the last week meant that the changing shape of shopping season was felt particularly strongly in the electricals and home technology division, where sales fell by 8.3%, year-on-year.
But sales were stronger in fashion (+1/2%), and especially womenswear (+7.2%). While home sales were flat, furniture sales rose by 6.9%, with sales of dining chairs (+21%) and dining tables (+48%) booming as shoppers prepared to host guests at Christmas.
“This week’s sales emphasised the different shape of trade for the Christmas period, marked by the peaks of Black Friday and the final week of December, with sales of £151.8m, down 2.1%,” said Ed Connolly, fashion buying director. “Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year means that customers have a full extra day shopping and are likely to leave their purchases until the last minute, as we’ve seen in previous years.”
The figures come weeks after John Lewis reported its biggest ever trading day on Black Friday, November 25 2016. At its busiest time on Black Friday morning, it took five orders every second on johnlewis.com. Over the course of the week to November 26, sales of £199.8m were 6.5% up on the same time last year.
Meanwhile, sister supermarket Waitrose [IRDX RWAI] said that its sales of £146.8m were down by 0.1% last week, compared to last year, although turkey orders rose by nearly 10% and party food orders by 7%.
Mentioned in this piece…
- Ed Robinson/OneRedEye, John Lewis