Changing shape of Christmas put logistics centre stage, says John Lewis

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The changing shape of Christmas shopping has brought the importance of retail logistics to the fore, says John Lewis managing director Andy Street.

John Lewis reports today that click and collect was its shoppers’ delivery method of choice over the Christmas period, with 56% of online orders collected in stores. It’s all part of a picture, it says, in which customers opted for a more coordinated and convenient shopping experience.

John Lewis has positive sales figures to report as a result: in the five weeks to December 27, total sales reached £777m, some 5.8% up on the same time last year and 4.8% on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures.

Online, sales were 19% up on last year, with 36% of all John Lewis sales made over the internet.

John Lewis say the figures in its five-week trading statement confirm changes to the timing of Christmas shopping. Sales were particularly high around Black Friday, at the end of November, and again as customers made last-minute purchases in the run-up to Christmas.

‘With Black Friday driving a higher proportion of online sales and customer increasingly wanting more convenience this has meant a real concentration on fulfillment, making this a truly Logistics Christmas,” said Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis. “The investments we have made and the new capabilities we have built in recent years in distribution and IT have been fundamental in ensuring we successfully navigate this changing shape of trade.”

Street said shops would continue to have a critical role to play in omnichannel, and that it would open two At Home shops in Horsham and Basingstoke in 2015 and a new regional flagship in Birmingham in September.

Street’s comments on the importance of logistics this Christmas come after a festive season in which courier company City Link went into administration on Christmas Day. At the peak of the internet shopping season, Yodel delayed its collections from distribution centres for two days in order to cope with higher than usual volumes.

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