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John Lewis predicts last-minute rush despite Black Friday high

John Lewis is expecting a last-minute rush today and tomorrow despite having hit a record £179m sales during the week that included Black Friday on November 28. Sales in the week to December 20 rose by 6.5% week-on-week to reach £160.6m.

Fashion sales during last week increased by 2.5%, driven by increased demand for menswear and sports, men’s formalwear and childrenswear.

Despite the hike in late November, the store group said the latest results confirmed its expectations that customers are leaving their Christmas shopping right up until the last minute, even though weekly sales are down 2.4% year-on-year. Online sales increased by 5.5% compared to the same week in 2013.

Focus shifted to shops during the past weekend, with Chichester recording a 10.6% increase, followed by Chester (7.6%) and Swindon (4.8%).

The cut-off date for click-and-collect has been extended to today (December 23) for collection in shops tomorrow. In the past week, click-and-collect orders were up 30.3% on the same period in 2013.

“The record levels of trade in our fashion and home assortments are hard won in what has been a challenging market,” said retail director Andrew Murphy.

“However, busy though‎ our shops have been over the past week, it’s only in these final pre-Christmas days that many customers are finally moving to complete their gift buying and other purchases. Consequently our partners are standing ready for a very busy final trading day before the festive break.”

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