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John Lewis prepares for a mobile Christmas, to cap the year of £1bn online sales

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John Lewis is planning for the UK’s first mobile Christmas, rounding off a year in which it passed its £1bn target for online sales 12 months early.

More than 40% of its online traffic, said the John Lewis Partnership , now comes from mobile phones or tablets. Its transactional mobile app has seen fast growth in sales since its relaunch in July. “We are preparing,” said the John Lewis Partnership half-year statement today, “for what we anticipate will be the UK’s first mobile Christmas.”

The update came as the company reported gross sales of £4.73bn in the half year to July 27, up by 7.3% on the same period last year, and pre-tax profits of £115.8m, up by 3.9%. However, the review of its holiday pay policy meant an exceptional cost of £47.3m, which reduced pre-tax profits by £42.9m to £68.5m.

John Lewis sales rose by 6.6% to £1.7bn, while sales rose by 17.1% to £439.9m. Waitrose sales rose by 7.8% to £3.02bn, and sales grew by 40.6%.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: “There are some fundamental changes taking place in retail and the range and scale of these investments demonstrate our determination to take full advantage of the market opportunities that they bring.”

He also pointed to progress in the group’s “quiet revolution” as it invests in the supply chain, IT and support functions. “We moved successfully onto a new platform, opened a new Waitrose distribution centre in Leyland and announced a new John Lewis distribution centre in Milton Keynes,” he said.

• Some 17% of Argos’ total sales were made over mobile devices in the 13 weeks to June 1, up from 7% at the same time the year before, while some 44% of all sales were made online. The update came as its parent company Home Retail Group announced a 2.4% growth in Argos sales to £889m in the period, while sales at its sister company Homebase were up by 9.3% at £400m.

• Meanwhile home furnishings company Dunelm said that its multichannel revenues had grown by 80%, and now made up 4% of its total revenues. Total revenues grew by 12.2% to £677.2m during the year to June 29, while pre-tax profits grew by 12.3% to £108.1m.

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