John Lewis sees strong sales rise as promotional pricing continues
After last week’s sales surge due to Black Friday, this time John Lewis Partnership reported a smaller rise, but a healthy one.
The firm’s sales rose 6.1% to £309.63 million in the seven days to December 7, driven by the John Lewis department stores chain. Its sales rose a hefty 14.8% on the same week last year as it saw a strong end to its Black Friday event.
And total sales for the full 11-day Black Friday promotional event were up 10.2% on last year’s Black Friday period, with Cyber Sunday and Monday sales up 10.9% compared to the equivalent trading days last year (25 and 26 November).
Fashion sales were up 12.5%, with womenswear sales rising 5.2% and women's accessories sales up 10.5% as customers shopped for the party season. Menswear sales meanwhile were up 11.6%, with men’s shoes up 18.7%. Beauty, wellbeing & leisure rose 17.9% as it price-matched a number of competitor promotions.
Of course, while that’s all good news, the issue here is promotional pricing. Cutting prices may boost sales, but when those markdowns are reactive (that is, rivals are cutting prices so John Lewis is matching them), that can dent seasonal expectations and undermine profit margins.
Given how ‘successful’ John Lewis’s Black Friday season has been in terms of shifting product, it will be interesting to see, come profits reporting time, what it has done to its bottom line.
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