John Lewis toasts "outstanding" Christmas sales

High Street bellwether retailer John Lewis has said its sales throughout the Christmas period were “outstanding” at almost £600m.

Sales rose 9.3 per cent to £596m in the five weeks to the end of December, compared with the same period in 2010, the owner of Peter Jones and Waitrose said.

Like for like sales were up 6.2 per cent in the five weeks, while compared to Christmas 2009, total sales were up by almost a fifth and like for like sales increased 14.4 per cent.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said the sales were record-breaking.

“Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding. During that period we broke the record for our biggest week ever with a sterling total of £133.1m for the week ending December 17th,” he said.

“Sales at broke through the £600m milestone during December and our Click and Collect operation… continued operating right up to Christmas Eve in John Lewis and saw a 90% increase in usage.”

The post-Christmas week in December saw sales of £101.3m, down 4.8 per cent compared with 2010 but Street said this compared to the week before the VAT rise, which saw a surge in buying.