Cold snap helps sales warm up at John Lewis

Kasmira Jefford
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JOHN LEWIS’ sales jumped seven per cent last week, boosted by the colder weather, which prompted consumers to stock up on warm clothing.

The retailer yesterday posted sales of £91m in the week to 9 November, with online sales up by almost a quarter (23.1 per cent), compared with the same time last year.

However sales were down 0.7 per cent on the previous week when school half-term and the launch of the iPad Air drove record sales.

Cashmere jumpers and accessories including leather gloves were the best-sellers, helping to push womenswear sales up by 6.3 per cent.

“This is a very decent if unspectacular performance, and retailers will be hoping that it is a sign that consumers are prepared to spend as the critical Christmas period really gets underway,” IHS Global Insight’s chief economist Howard Archer said.

However he pointed out that John Lewis customers were “typically less affected” by the squeeze on purchasing power than the average consumer.

Despite the recent pick-up in economic activity, British households continue to feel the squeeze from rising energy prices and consumer prices still rising ahead of earnings growth.

Last week, UK retailers launched their Christmas advertising campaigns as they as the high street prepares to fight for a share of customers’ purses during the crucial Christmas trading period.

Despite a mixed reception from viewers, John Lewis’s the Bear and the Hare advert was one of the most popular UK videos on YouTube, with as many as 2.6m hits between its launch on online Friday and Saturday night.