Mar 8, 2017
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John Lewis happy as fashion sales rise, but disappointed over ad ruling

Mar 8, 2017

John Lewis has been in the news this week for its digital initiatives and now the big story is its weekly sales figures, as well as the retailer falling foul of the UK’s ad watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Fashion, such as the exclusive Somerset by Alice Temperley line, is a bright spot for John Lewis

On the sales front, it said that turnover in the seven days to March 4 rose 2.8% to £80.37m. They were boosted by Fashion, with a 7.7% rise as both men’s and womenswear saw an uplift. This was largely driven by matching a competitor promotion, which it price-matched under its Never Knowingly Undersold policy.

Beauty, wellbeing and leisure also saw a rise in sales, growing by 6.6% compared with last year. But Home was down 3.4%, with the later fall of Mother's Day this year causing a shift in sales, even though beds and fitted furniture had a strong week.

Yet while price-matching a rival helped boost sales in the Fashion category, it also got John Lewis into hot water with the ASA over a Black Friday promotion for the Apple Watch.

The watchdog has ruled against the chain after it advertised the device at £249 under its price-match promise last November. However, having marked the item as out of stock online on Black Friday, then listing it as in-stock at full price the following day, the ASA cried foul.

The company said its breach of the ad code was down to a misunderstanding but admitted that it may have acted prematurely in withdrawing the item on Black Friday.

It said the deal had proved extremely popular and the item had been withdrawn on the day over concerns about it not being able to fulfil all orders. And it said the price rose the next day as the competitor whose price it was matching had gone back to a higher price.

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