Oct 15, 2019
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John Lewis fashion gets cool weather lift, Xmas rooftop experience to open

Oct 15, 2019

John Lewis has gone from being one of the most successful retailers on the UK high street to suffering from the same issues that many of its peers, large and small, are facing at the moment and its recent weekly sales reports have documented this change. 

Fashion was a top seller at John Lewis last week - Sandra Halliday

But its latest on Tuesday, for the seven days to October 12, showed a much better performance. The John Lewis department stores helped drive the overall company’s sales higher while the chain itself saw total sales up 11.9% year-on-year.

That leap came as customers purchased new-season fashion items due to cooler weather, and shopped promotional events across the Home and Fashion departments, although with promotional pricing, there’s always the risk that markdowns could dent profits further down the line.

Fashion sales were up 13.7% on the back of its fashion promotion, which started on Friday. Womenswear was up 28% and menswear rose 25.9% as the cooler weather saw customers buying into the autumn offer. Cashmere overall was up an impressive 48%.

Home sales, meanwhile, were up 13.8% as customers began to prepare their homes for the festive season, with Christmas product soaring 25%. Quirky baubles such as dinosaurs are proving particularly popular, and shaped and animal baubles are currently outselling round ones seven to one. Meanwhile furniture and flooring was up 7.4% and carpets were up 26%. 

And Electrical and Home Technology sales rose as much as 9.5% with small electricals sales increasing by 8.4%, which was driven by personal care. Hairdryers proved particularly popular.

It’s interesting that the Christmas offer is selling well this early and justifies the investment the firm is putting into making-over its Oxford Street flagship’s rooftop garden to add to the experience it will offer for the Christmas shopping season. The revamped space is set to open on Friday.

The company has made good use of the area in recent periods with the summer seeing it turned into a festival-themed experience. For Christmas, the theme is an Americana one rather than the more traditional festive feel that you might expect. That means fairground horses and bumper cars, a food pop-up by Jimmy Garcia and bars offering Christmas-inspired cocktails.

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