Apr 2, 2019
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John Lewis sales drop, but Mother's Day gifts are strong

Apr 2, 2019

John Lewis Partnership sales plummeted in the latest week, with an 11.4% drop down to £224.08 million in the seven days up to March 30. And while the Waitrose supermarkets saw a sizeable fall, the John Lewis department store chain was the worst performer.

Gifts were key to John Lewis sales in the latest week

Its sales dropped by as much as 13.7% in total but that wasn't quite the disaster that it looked to be on surface. As we've mentioned before, sales comparisons in March and April are always tricky given the various timing of Easter during those two months in different years. Easter Sunday last year was on April 1, but this year it will be April 21.

John Lewis said that total sales for the week were down as it “annualised strong sales due to the earlier fall of Good Friday and Easter Saturday, colder weather driving footfall into our shops and significant promotional activity in the same week last year.”

But on a more positive note, it added that “this week ended a record fortnight for Mother’s Day gifts which were up 10% on the same two weeks last year.”

And that was also good news for the Fashion department, with its sales up 3.9%. This was driven “by customers buying gifts in the run up to Mother’s Day and promotions on beauty products.” John Lewis also said that sales of women’s accessories were up 18.2% with jewellery up 38%. Beauty, Wellbeing and Leisure sales were up 13.6%.

But once again the struggling Home department came in well short of the rest of the business. Home sales were down 19.7% overall, even though sales of Mother’s Day gifts were up 39.5% with particularly strong demand for its own-brand Find Keep Give gift range, gift food products and Little Botanicals plants. It also had its strongest ever week in March for outdoor furniture and BBQs with sales up 15% and 9% respectively.

Meanwhile, its Electrical and Home Technology sales were down a massive 25.4% but it saw strong demand for the new Apple Airpods which went on sale on Thursday, as well as new Dyson products.

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