More than 30% of John Lewis’ sales now take place online

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More than 30% of John Lewis’ sales now take place online, its parent company said today.

The update came as both the department store and sister supermarket Waitrose reported fast growth in half-year online sales today, demonstrating what John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield described as “the growing appeal of our omnichannel offer across both brands.”

John Lewis Partnership today reported online sales of £552m at John Lewis in the six months to July 26, 25.6% more than at the same time last year. Ecommerce sales now represent more than 30% of all merchandise sales, with more than half of traffic to johnlewis.com now from mobile and tablet devices. Shop sales grew by 3.6% over the period, taking overall gross sales up by 11.3%, or 9.7% like-for-like, to £1.87bn. Operating profits rose by 62%, or £22m, to £56.3m.

From Christmas, said the company, the cut-off time for next day collection will move to 8pm.

At Waitrose, online sales hit £161m, with gross sales up by 54% as the company won 46,000 new customers and increased available delivery slots by 79%. The supermarket’s total gross sales grew by 4.1%, or 1.3% like-for-like, excluding petrol, to £3.1bn. But operating profits fell by 9%, or £15m, to £145.2m. Mayfield put the fall in profits down to “much higher level of investment in new branches, and accelerating the growth of the business through investment in Waitrose.com and the myWaitrose programme, as well as challenging market conditions.” Sales, he said, outpaced the market.

Overall, partnership profits before tax and exceptionals reached £130.6m, 12% more than at the same time last year on gross sales of £5bn, up by 6% on last time.

Mayfield pointed to the success of click and collect, which, he said: “now accounts for more than half of John Lewis orders placed online.” Waitrose will soon offer click and collect grocery orders at more branches, as well as introducing click and collect for its wine department Cellar orders.

He said my Waitrose and my John Lewis loyalty programmes encouraged customers to shop more often with it across all channels.”

Mayfield said partners had made “tremendous efforts… in achieving these results through a period of significant change, including implementing new IT systems and adopting new ways of working.”

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