John Lewis sees 21% increase in online sales

Department store and grocery chain John Lewis saw a 21% increase in online sales during the festive period. This offset somewhat disappointing sales results for the high street shops as well as a falls in sales for the grocery chain Waitrose that is also part of the John Lewis Partnership.

Black Friday was the company’s most successful on record, with parcels increasing by 18% on the year before. The BBC followed John Lewis in a documentary just before Christmas Day that looked at the business behind the storefront, as it coped with a huge rush on Black Friday and other discount days after that.

January Sales saw a 16% increase in sales by comparison to the same period the year before, suggesting healthy growth when the partnership discounts its goods. Waitrose, its grocery store chain, however did not fare so well. The company reported that sales fell by 1.4% last year.

Sales volumes have been impacted by deflation in the non foods retail sector. According to the British Retail Consortium, prices have fallen by 3% in December where food prices have fallen by 2% in the same period. Discounting seems to be the way company can get the vital sales in, and the massive growth of the online sector has forced prices down due to competition with the high street. Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said, “For the last two years and eight months, customers have been able to fill their baskets, whether virtual or physical, and pay less for their goods than the year before.” 

John Lewis overall turnover has increased by 4% year on year to December and this is because the company has been so successful with its online shop. With high street sales in almost universal decline and online sales replacing them, it seems that companies that have a strong online presence will be those that survive the change from high street to online shopping as a whole.