John Lewis says online sales continue to rise even as shoppers return to the department store group in force.
The multichannel retailer reports a 45% rise in sales at johnlewis.com last week, while across the group the company said it had smashed records to take £121m in a single week. The total sales for the week to December 11 represent an 8% rise on the retailer's previous biggest ever week in 2009, of £112m. It's also 10% up on the same week last year and 16.7% up on last week.
December 6 - Mega Monday - was the biggest day in johnlewis.com's history while another 'mega' Monday was expected yesterday. Top-selling goods included gifts, homewares and sewing machines.
David Barford, director, selling operations, for John Lewis, said: "We are thrilled to have exceeded our record week from last year, and by such a margin. The thaw in the weather has no doubt helped and shoppers have been out in force throughout the week."
Meanwhile the British Retail Consortium says two-thirds of retailers are reporting that Christmas sales will be at least as good - if not better - as last year. Some 29% think sales will be the same, and 35% that they will be better. However, 36% believe sales will be down - while 71% believe shoppers are bringing purchases forward from January, when the rise to 20% VAT takes effect.
Stephen Roberton, British Retail Consortium director-general, said: "It's reassuring to see a majority of retailers believe Christmas sales will be at least as good as last year, even if a third say they will be worse. But, considering inflation is now at 3.2 per cent, growth of anything less then that would be a real-terms fall."