John Lewis & Partners’ gross sales for the seven weeks up to January 4 were down 2.3% versus last year and down 2.0% on a like-for-like basis. Home sales were down 3.4% and Electricals & Home Technology sales were down 4.0%.
However the department store chain saw a big uplift for Black Friday at the end of November, with sales up 10.0% on the equivalent period last year. This was followed by ‘more subdued demand in the subsequent weeks,’ states the retailer.
The figures coincide with reports from the BRC that overall retail sales in November and December were particularly weak, falling 0.9%, and that 2019 was the worst year on record for retail sales. Chief executive Helen Dickinson reflects: “Twice the UK faced the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, as well as political instability that concluded in a December general election – further weakening demand for the festive period.”
She adds: “Retailers also faced challenges as consumers became both more cautious and more conscientious as they went about their Christmas shopping.”
The BRC also reports that Black Friday week’s sales overtook Christmas week.
Top: A view of John Lewis & Partners Oxford Street.