AFTER a warm start to the winter, Christmas shopping began in earnest last week with John Lewis reporting sales in excess of £100m for the first time this year.
Sales in the week to 16 November jumped 10.7 per cent from a year ago to £101.4m – the earliest week that sales have ever topped £100m, the retailer said yesterday.
Online sales were up 23.7 per cent on a year ago and accounted for 31 per cent of total sales.
John Lewis put the jump in sales down to the onset of the colder weather, with knitwear, boots and hot water bottles among the best-selling items last week.
Retail director Andrew Murphy said other popular products such as folding chairs, napkins and coffee machines were “all indications that customers are getting ready to host guests over the festive season”.
IHS Global Insight’s chief UK economist Howard Archer said the performance was encouraging after sales slowed in October.