John Lewis reports 'outstanding' Christmas sales

Sales for the five weeks to December 31st were up by 9.3 per cent year-on-year.
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Like-for-like sales for the period increased by 6.2 per cent. Compared with two years ago, total sales were 19.1 per cent up, while like-for-like sales grew by 14.4 per cent.

Online sales for the five weeks were 27.9 per cent up on 2010 and have now exceeded £600m for the year to date.

The fourth week of the period (Sunday 18 December to Saturday 24 December inclusive) saw sales of £124.7m, up 32.7 per cent on 2010 sales for the equivalent week - a very strong performance even with an extra day's trade that week.

The fifth week of the period (Sunday December 25th to Saturday December 31st inclusive) saw sales of £101.3m, which, although down 4.8 per cent year-on-year, were against sales for the week before the VAT increase on January 1st 2011.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said: "Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding. During that period we broke the record for our biggest week ever with a sterling total of £133.1m for the week ending 17 December. The first week of clearance saw a very strong start, but against the pre-VAT increase week in 2010, it was always going to be a challenge to match sales, particularly with 'big ticket' items.

"The strength of our online operation was very much in evidence during this key five week period, confirming our strength as a pre-eminent multi-channel retailer. Sales at johnlewis.com broke through the £600m milestone during December and our Click and Collect operation, giving customers the flexibility of buying online and collecting from 129 John Lewis and Waitrose branches, continued operating right up to Christmas Eve in John Lewis and saw a 90 per cent increase in usage.

"Above all our success can be attributed to the excellent service delivered by our Partners as well as inspiring products and outstanding value. Although trade in 2012 will undoubtedly be challenging and economic conditions volatile, John Lewis will continue to be the trusted retailer of choice for our customers and will always fulfil its 'Never Knowingly Undersold' promise."

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