Jan 28, 2020
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John Lewis sales down 2.5% in last ever weekly update

Jan 28, 2020

John Lewis has announced it will stop providing weekly sales figures amid wider business changes, but not before revealing a 2.5% decline in sales for the seven days to 25 January.

John Lewis

The department store, part of the John Lewis Partnership, is merging its teams with Waitrose to operate as a single business.

The group was an exception among rivals in publishing sales updates. The reports, released weekly for many decades, allowed industry-watchers to monitor the company’s performance throughout the year.

But challenging trading conditions on the UK high street, coupled with political and economic uncertainty, took a toll on the British retail group in recent months, and the reports meant it revealed the fragile state of parts of the business over and over again.

The information will no longer be published externally, however staff at the employee-owned group will continue to receive updates through its intranet and the internal Gazette magazine.

The latest snapshot confirms the challenges facing the retailer. Total sales were down 2.5% in the week ended 25 January, as clearance came to an end and competitor promotions impacted Home sales. 

Fashion sales increased by a mere 0.4%, and Beauty, Wellbeing and Leisure sales were up 1.4% after the retailer price matched a competitor promotion. Home sales slumped by 9.3%, but the company said sales of the new Spring/Summer ranges are showing promise. 

Finally, Electrical and Home Technology sales were up 1.1% as customers continued to buy new computers and tablets following the end of life of Windows 7.

Overall, sales at the department store chain have fallen by 1.6% in the 52 weeks to 25 January, compared to the same period in 2018.

John Lewis has had a rough year, and the new business structure will make it difficult to see how the business is doing independently from Waitrose.

The next trading update will come in the form of the group’s full-year results in March.

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