John Lewis sales were up 7.5 per cent year-on-year on the week ending 15 June. The gain is in line with the overall increase of 7.9 per cent in the 20 weeks to 15 June.
The results will be reassuring to the department store after the previous week’s 5.2 per cent decline – something that was blamed on the Diamond Jubilee celebrations the year before.
Sales of Father’s Day cards were up 45 per cent, online sales were up 18.8 per cent, and home technology sales were up by almost ten per cent. It’s worth noting that sales of outdoor furniture more than doubled, and there was also strong growth in picnicware and sunglasses, suggesting that the good weather has been pushing up consumer demand.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist says that consumer confidence will be vital in determining whether the economy will continue to grow.
The solid gain in John Lewis sales in the week to 15 June follow on from the Office for National Statistics reporting that retail sales volumes jumped 2.1 per cent month-on-month in May, thereby more than wiping out the 1.1 per cent drop that had occurred in April (when sales had been hampered by ongoing poor weather hitting sales of summer clothing and outdoor goods as well as by the fact that Easter occurred in March this year)….
However, consumers remain under pressure on a number of fronts, which suggests that the upside for consumer spending could be limited for some time to come. In particular, annual underlying earnings growth remains very low, and at 0.9 per cent in the three months to April, was only a third of May’s consumer price inflation rate of 2.7 per cent.
The store is also experimenting with its first “little Waitrose at John Lewis” store in the back-of-house area in John Lewis Watford, which could be introduced to other shops if it goes down well.