Online frenzy drives growth at John Lewis ahead of Christmas

Kasmira Jefford
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JOHN Lewis posted a 1.8 per cent rise in sales to £144.5m in the week to 7 December, boosted by another record performance by its online business. sales rose 22 per cent compared to the same week last year – a second consecutive week in which the site has taken over a third of overall trade.

The first day of the month set a new record for the group as the busiest Sunday on record, with traffic to the site up 29 per cent from the same day last year.

However sales were 1.7 per cent down on the previous week’s year-on-year growth, which benefited from Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when Americans traditionally kick off their festive shopping.

IHG Global Insight’s chief UK economist Howard Archer said John Lewis’s “reasonable but unspectacular” figures raised questions over how strong a Christmas this will be for retailers.

“With many people’s purchasing power squeezed ... it may well be that a large number of consumers are deliberately delaying much of their Christmas shopping in the hope that retailers will make increasingly attractive offers as Christmas gets ever nearer,” Archer said.