John Lewis last week broke its own sales records both on and offline as Christmas shoppers started buying in earnest.
In total John Lewis took £123.5m last week, a 2% rise on the previous record, set in the same week last year, and 8.7% up on last week.
Of that, £28.8m was spent online. Sales at johnlewis.com were around 20% above its previous record, while the number of shoppers using the related click and collect service rose by 75%.
The rise in sales came as customers bought women’s fashions and accessories, iPads, coffee machines, toys and menswear. A significant increase in the number of people buying sewing machines and haberdashery items was reported by a number of stores, while homewares were also very popular.
Maggie Porteous, head of selling operations for John Lewis, said: “We are thrilled to have achieved a new record week. Despite the turbulent economic climate we can clearly see that our customers want to deliver a perfect Christmas for their friends and family, whether that is finding the right present or finding those extra touches to decorate their homes.”
The figures were released as Verdict Research released its latest findings from a five wave study on Christmas spending. It found despite low consumer confidence and disposable incomes, a high proportion of shoppers questioned between November 28 and December 4 are planning to spend the same or more as they did last year.
“Data from our survey shows that a large number of people feel financially worse-off than they did a year ago,” says Carly Syme, research analyst at Verdict Research. “When asked about their current financial position compared with last year, 56.1% stated that they feel financially worse off, compared to just 14.5% stating that they felt better off.”
But, she added: “Despite the uncertain economic outlook, 42.4% of consumers say they will spend the same as last year while 21.0% intend to spend more – unwilling to sacrifice over the Christmas period. Our data shows this is more true for spending on gifts than food and drink – the average spend on books as gifts will be £25.77, up on £22.55 last year while the average spend on clothing and accessories will be £54.82, also up from last year’s average spend of £54.47.”