John Lewis ended its trading year with “something of a whimper” last week when sales fell 1.6% to £43.51m, but full year sales ended 0.3% up.
The fashion category outperformed other categories for the week ended January 31, with sales up 0.8%. Fashion sales outperformed for the entire year. Last week, new spring styles buoyed trade and girlswear also performed strongly.
John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: “In both womenswear and menswear impressive progress in our branded collections has been a feature of our growing reputation as a fashion destination this year. Similarly women’s shoes rounded off a remarkable year, while both accessory buyerships have exploited the colder winter.”
Four of the group’s 27 stores - Bluewater, Trafford, Knight & Lee and Newcastle - made gains on the week.
Street said: “We close an unprecedented year in good shape. There is no question that trade has been challenging, but Partners in all parts of the division have risen to the task with characteristic determination. Our success in the Verdict and Which? Retail awards is their achievement. For the new trading year stocks are clean, we have lots of enticing new product, and plenty more resolve.”