John Lewis has slower week but fashion still heads upwards
John Lewis Partnership's total sales may have fallen in the seven days to April 7, but at least the John Lewis department store chain was in positive territory. Total group sales dropped nearly 9% to £197 million while at the department store unit rose 3.6%.
That was despite there being one less trading day across the stores because they were closed on Easter Sunday so any benefits that Easter seasonal spending would had delivered are likely to have been countered by that closure. But that fact suggests that the chain is in robust shape especially as any sales increase in the current environment is impressive.
But now for the bad news. Fashion, one of John Lewis’s key directories, was down 3.2%, mainly because the weather was so much colder than a year ago. In fact, on April 7 last year temperatures were positively summery in many parts of the country, whereas this year they were distinctly cool.
That said, the chain managed to shift plenty of cold weather clothing with that category up 9% year-on-year. Womenswear overall rose only 1.8% last week but premium accessories had a good time with watches up 27% and handbags "also performing well.”
But the Home department sank back into the decline that it has seen for much of the year with a 1.4% fall, although textiles and home accessories were up 5.9% and bedlinen was up 17%. Cookshop also had a good week (+16%) and hydration, which includes reusable bottles, saw sales rise by 23%.
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