John Lewis is gearing up for bumper Christmas sales, led by online and mobile devices, according to managing director Andy Street.
The retailer, which reported a 9.4% increase in sales to £1.87bn for the six months to July 26 today (September 11), expects to outperform over the festive period for the sixth consecutive year, in line with improving consumer confidence.
“Our feeling for Christmas is in line with the data that says consumer sentiment is the best it has been since 2007. The market is changing and online is at the heart of the growth. There will be winners and losers but we are going with the grain and we’ll outperform for the sixth year running,” Street added.
John Lewis expects online sales to increase to a third of total sales for Christmas 2014, up from 30% last Christmas. For the full year in 2013 online sales accounted for 29% of total sales.
Online fashion sales currently account for 33% of total fashion sales at John Lewis and for the first time the business has broken the half way stage with 50% of online sales coming from mobile and tablet devices.
Street said mobile conversion would be a crucial part of fashion sales in the run up to the festive season.
“The real success story will be the acceleration of online and mobile, particularly on womenswear. We have to get product to market quickly and we can do that by making sure it is easy to buy on all devices. It has to be simple and that conversion will be crucial for the second half,” he added.
In the first half, fashion sales were up 9.1% at John Lewis with womenswear increasing by 12%, and menswear by 9%.
Street added: “We have had a solid performance, consistent with more stable economic conditions. For Christmas we’ll see customers picking up on our great brands and our own branded product, we’re confident we’ll outperform in the second half.”