In today's Christmas tradiing statement retailer John Lewis reports gross sales were up 1.4% versus last year to £2,207m1 with Black Friday contributing to the biggest sales week.
Waitrose & Partners gross sales (excluding fuel) were £1,047m, up 0.2% versus last year and up 0.3% on a like-for-like basis, despite reduced promotional activity.
John Lewis & Partners gross sales were £1,160m, up 2.5% versus last year and up 1.0% on a like-for-like basis and outperformed the market2 by 2.0%.
Black Friday contributed to the biggest sales week in John Lewis & Partners’ history and in Waitrose & Partners online sales over the Christmas period increased by 12.8%.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said:
" Two main factors are affecting the retail sector - oversupply of physical space and relatively weak consumer demand. Despite this, we had a positive Christmas trading period thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Partners in our business, delivering differentiated products and service to customers.
"John Lewis & Partners like-for-like sales grew by 1.0% overall, with particularly positive performances in Fashion up 6.8%, with stand outs in Beauty up 11.2% and own-brand Womenswear up 14.7%. However, gross margins remained under pressure in what was an intensely competitive pricing environment. Waitrose & Partners achieved the best operational performance we have seen for some years, with good availability, low wastage and Partners focused on providing better customer service. Like-for-like sales increased by 0.3%, despite a sharp reduction in the level of promotions as we focused on our most loyal customers. We are well on track to grow Waitrose & Partners’ profits for the full year.
"The actions taken in recent years to prepare for the current pressures in retail mean that the Partnership has the financial strength and flexibility to pay a modest bonus this year, without impacting our ambitious investment programme. However, the Board will need to consider carefully in March, following the usual process, whether payment of a bonus is prudent in the light of business and economic prospects at that time.