Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

John Lewis Christmas sales reach record

Outside John Lewis, Oxford Steet, 27 December 2009
John Lewis on London's Oxford Street: adding to the record takings

The John Lewis department store chain has reported record sales for the Christmas season.

Revenues at the stores hit £500.8m in the five weeks to 2 January, with like-for-like sales up 12.7% from last year.

John Lewis said it had sold goods worth more than £100m in four of the five weeks over the festive trading period.

This was thanks to what the store described as "excellent" Christmas and clearance trading. Its sister business, Waitrose, also did well.

In the trading week to 26 December, sales at Waitrose were up 20.8% from the same week last year, while in the 13-week period to 26 December total sales at the supermarket chain were up 16.1%.

'Purple patch'

In the John Lewis stores, fashion sales were up 22%, home goods increased 19% and electrical and home technology sales jumped 11%.


In a statement, John Lewis managing director Andy Street said that the five-week period had seen "a number of records broken" for the company.

"We beat our previous biggest ever week from 2007 in early December," he said.

But Mr Street warned that UK High Streets still had a long way to go before sales returned to the levels reached before the economic downturn struck.

"The figures are good but that's probably not going to be sustained. It's a purple patch," he told the BBC.

"Looking into 2010 we think that with higher taxes coming in we're not going to see these figures continue."

Christmas run-up

Separate figures from market data firm Experian suggested that, for many retailers, there was a Boxing day sales rush that made up for a disappointing pre-Christmas run up, with a record number of shoppers hitting the shops on 26 and 27 December.

Experian said there had been an 18.5% jump in the number of shoppers compared with the previous year.

John Lewis did not open its High Street stores on Boxing Day.

Another retailer to do well in the run-up to Christmas was fashion retailer Next.

In the 22 weeks to 24 December, like-for-like sales at Next Retail were up 3.2%, including internet trading.

Next has now raised its full-year profit forecast to between £490m and £500m, higher than a previous estimate of about £472m.

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