Double digit trading rise at John Lewis

UPMARKET retailer John Lewis has reported strong trading figures over the past week after festive shoppers turned out to spend on Christmas.

The department store chain took £88m in the week ending Saturday 20 November was up 11.5 per cent on the same period in 2009 and 29 per cent higher than 2008, the company said.

Waitrose, the supermarket arm of the John Lewis Partnership, took £98.4m, an eight per cent increase on 2009 and 27 per cent up on 2008 as Christmas pudding sales alone soared 174 per cent.

Across all divisions the partnership, the UK’s largest co-ownership model with 70,000 employees owning a share in the business, took £186.45m over the week, compared with £170m in 2009, a 9.6 per cent increase.

Sales have been on a steadily rising trend for the past five weeks.

John Lewis’ selling operations director Nat Wakely said its London Oxford Street store and Peter Jones on the King’s Road in London had performed particularly strongly.

Online sales also increased by 41 per cent compared with a year earlier, driven by large electrical sales, the company said.

Analysts at Seymour Pearce said the figures showed “high street sales are holding up well against relatively difficult comparatives.”

But they warned that Waitrose faced a tough environment as the food retail sector becomes more price promotional.

The John Lewis partnership has 274 stores across the UK and an annual turnover of more than £7.4bn.