John Lewis sales fall by 1.8%

Omnichannel retail group John Lewis Partnership saw overall sales fall by 1.8%, even as its grocery chain Waitrose saw online sales grow 23.4% in the run-up to Christmas.

John Lewis saw gross sales fall by 1.8% year on year to £2.167 billion, with its John Lewis department store division seeing gross sales fall by 2.3% to £1.13 billion, a 2% drop on a like for like basis.

Waitrose & Partners however saw like for like sales grow by 0.4%, even as gross sales fell due to store closures.

Online sales at the grocer grew by 16.7% across the year, with online grocery orders up 23.4% in the week before Christmas by comparison to the year before. John Lewis & Partners online sales grew by 1.4% during the same period.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Operationally – across availability, service, delivery and online – we saw a strong performance in both brands.”

“In John Lewis & Partners, Beauty sales were up 4.7%, comfortably ahead of the market, with overall Fashion sales up 0.1%. Home sales were down 3.4% and Electricals & Home Technology sales were down 4.0%.”

Meanwhile MD Paula Nickolds is to step down next month. Nickolds has been with John Lewis for 25 year and the retailer said: “After some reflection on the responsibilities of her proposed new role, we have decided together that the implementation of the future partnership structure in February is the right time for her to move on.”

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