John Lewis has labelled 2014 the year of the click-and-collect Christmas after record-breaking use of the service helped push some fashion sales up 25% in the week to December 27.
The store group posted total sales of £126.24m across the period, aided by a decision to extend its order cut-off to December 23 for last-minute online shoppers, contributing to an overall rise of 30% in the number of parcels sent into John Lewis and Waitrose shops.
The number of shoppers who bought women’s accessories jumped by one quarter, while menswear and sports was up 8%. Overall fashion sales rose 8.1% year on year.
Although the sales figures are down 1.4% against 2013, it noted a strong performance in its Oxford Street flagship and good results from its stores in Exeter and Stratford City over the period.
It added to the dominance of online shopping, with clearance Sales, which started on Christmas Eve, up 19% on last year, with high traffic coming from mobile devices.
Online director Mark Lewis said: “Our distribution teams coped admirably with the volume and flurries of snow across the country. Our shops were also more than up for the challenge, and my thanks go to all of you across the divisions working to make our omni-channel proposition such a success over this busy period.”
Managing director of Conlumino Neil Saunders said the decline in sales for a second consecutive week illustrates a change in the pattern of festive trade, with Black Friday puling the key period forward.
“While John Lewis was correct to participate in Black Friday, and would have inevitably suffered if it did not, we do not believe it has provided a significant boost in trade across the period. While Black Friday changes when people buy, in many instances, it does not make them buy more.
“The distortion of Black Friday is clearly not as helpful as retailers would have wished. In essence, it has been an exercise of selling the same volumes but doing so at a discounted margin. We expect there to be a negative impact on profitability at a number of players as further Christmas results filter through.”
Saunders did, however, add that he predicts the business to emerge as a Christmas winner, with sales across the festive period up by almost 6%.
John Lewis will announce its next full trading update, including detailed Christmas performance, next week.