Jan 4, 2017
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Mulberry bags and beauty are popular items in John Lewis clearance online

Jan 4, 2017

Calendar shifts may have sent sales at John Lewis in the pre-Christmas week up and sales in the post-Christmas week down but there was no disguising that overall, the chain was one of the winners from the holiday season.

It has consistently turned in strong sales figures so far this season and online looked particularly buoyant in recent weeks. However, it gave few details about in-store trading in its update Wednesday.

The Christmas picture is patchy at John Lewis due to calendar shifts

So first, let’s look at those calendar effects. The department-stores-to-online retailer said the week before Christmas (week starting 19 December) this year included two extra days of sales as the same week in 2015 had included Christmas Day and Boxing Day when stores were closed.  This resulted in total weekly sales of £175.6m, a 36% increase year-on-year.

The following week, when the clearance began, therefore included those two non-shopping days this time, although last year it had also included New Year's Day, when most of the shops were not open. Trade for that week was down 9.4% year-on-year and sales for the week totalled £138.5m.

Fashion didn’t appear to be a huge priority for late shoppers with the retailer saying that the desire to make Christmas dinner tables and homes look great for friends and family drove last minute online shopping purchases on johnlewis.com.

Eight of the top 10 selling items online before Christmas were household items and included sets of china, white plates and cereal bowls. Click & collect orders were busy right up to the last collection day on Christmas Eve, and orders for that week were up 15.9% year on year.  

The busiest shopping hour online was between 6pm and 7pm on Christmas Eve, soon after Clearance began, and on Christmas Day the peak hour for placing orders was between 9pm and 10pm.

Online Clearance best-sellers included Mulberry handbags, Dyson vacuum cleaners and Samsung televisions, along with beauty gift sets. The busiest day in the shops was December 27.  

Travellers shopping on their journeys also made its Heathrow and St Pancras stores particularly busy.


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