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John Lewis passes the £1bn milestone online as its parent company’s sales top £10bn

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Fast online growth helped drive sales at the John Lewis Partnership past the £10bn milestone, with John Lewis’ online sales alone past £1bn for the first time.

Mobile and omnichannel commerce underpinned growth at both Waitrose and John Lewis, while new investment is set to be made online and in omnichannel measures such as drive through collections and collection lockers at Waitrose.

Sales across the group rose by 6.6% to £10.2bn in the year to January 25. Waitrose contributed £6.1bn, 6% up on last year, and John Lewis £4.1bn, up by 7.5%. Waitrose like-for-like sales rose by 5.1% on last year, while John Lewis’ were up by 6.4%.

Waitrose and John Lewis both enjoyed fast online growth: grocery sales rose by 41.4%, and total online serviced grossed sales of £262m, thanks to more than 5.6n customer visits a week. Of those sales, some 68% came from myWaitrose cardholders.

Meanwhile, sales rose by 19.2%, or £184m, to £1.14bn, from £959m at the same time last year. Click and collect sales grew by 57%.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: “Innovation in product and service continues to be vital in today’s market and there have been great examples of that in Waitrose and John Lewis. We have improved our omnichannel offer significantly with new online platforms for both brands and expansion of the hugely popular Click & collect service.”

Waitrose operating profit rose by 6.1% to £310.1m while John Lewis saw a rise of 4.3% to £226.1m. Across the group operating profit fell by 6.6% to £423.6m, and pre-tax profits by 4.1% to £329.1m, after exceptional costs of £47.3m relating to a review of holiday pay policy.

The group invested in the Waitrose online business during the year, and also introduced more personalisation through the myWaitrose card. Online transactions grew by 9.6%, with more than 5.6m customer visits a week. More than 4.1m Waitrose customers now have a myWaitrose card.

Some 57% of John Lewis click and collect orders were picked up from Waitrose stores during the year, amounting to 2.5m in all. Waitrose said it was trialling collection lockers and testing out drive-through collections in five shops.

Meanwhile, John Lewis’ growth to £1.14bn in sales came as the company launched a new web platform. The company said half of its ecommerce sales came from mobile during the year.

John Lewis staff will share a partnership bonus of £202.5m, equivalent to 15% of salary – or nearly eight weeks pay.

Mark Robinson, director of customer delivery operations at the John Lewis Partnership is speaking in the Operations and Logistics Conference at IRX 2014. He’ll be presenting a retail case study, Ensuring your delivery strategy ensures customer satisfaction whilst still offering you ROI, at 12.30pm on Thursday March 27.

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