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2013 Christmas advert © John Lewis

John Lewis breaks bricks and clicks records

By Retail Technology | Thursday January 2 2014

The multichannel department store retailer reveals positive breakdown of festive season sales with its five-week trading update published today

John Lewis today revealed a strong Christmas performance, helped in large part by the growing popularity of its ‘click & collect’ service, which allows customers to buy online and then pick their purchases up instore.

Click & collect sales jumped 61.8% compared with 2012, while total sales for the five weeks to 28 December 2013 were £734 million, 7.2% up compared with last year and 6.9% on a like-for-like basis. Compared with two years ago, total sales were up 23.1% while like-for-like sales grew 20.5%.

Mobile and online drive sales growth

Store sales increased by 1.2%. But online sales for the five weeks were 22.6% up on last year, with accounting for 31.8% of the total John Lewis's business during this period. 

The five weeks saw the UK retailer break a number of other records. Black Friday (29 November) was the biggest ever day for online orders, the final pre-Christmas week (ending 21 December) broke the £160m barrier for the first time and the first day of clearance in branches (27 December) was the biggest ever day for its shops and the business as a whole, taking £35.6m.

Changing shopping habits were also highlighted during December. John Lewis saw its prediction that this year will be the UK's first 'mobile Christmas' come true. On Christmas Day, traffic from mobile phones and tablets made up three quarters of total traffic, overtaking that from desktops by a considerable margin.

Capitalising on an ‘omnichannel’ Christmas

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, stated: “This Christmas has seen trade take a different shape to previous years, with an early peak driven by Black Friday and a huge surge in the final 10 days. Many of the big online shopping days and weeks occurred earlier in the period but shops were packed in the last-minute rush on 'manic Monday' (23 December) when we saw our city centre shops record peak days.

“The shift to mobile devices for online shopping has been confirmed. But the instore sale is well and truly thriving, as shown by the record first day for clearance in our shops on 27 December. With new highs in branches as well as for, this has been a genuine omnichannel Christmas.”

Technology major contributing factor

Street also saw fit to site IT as one the operational areas contributing to its success. “Partners on the shopfloor and in our call centres delivered the high levels of service our customers have come to expect, reinforced by excellent behind-the-scenes support from operations and IT,” he said.

The retailer also recently revealed in December further trials of new technology in its stores, including the use of Google Street View and customer transactional tablets.

“Our growth of 7.2% is broadly based and we expect to have outperformed the market. It bodes well for trade in 2014,” Street concluded.

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