Cashmere and own labels boost John Lewis despite fashion sales dip

John Lewis struggled to find sales growth in the latest week as the hugely successful retailer showed that even the biggest names aren’t immune to the cautious spending environment in the UK at present.

John Lewis

The company said Tuesday that sales for the seven days to December 16 actually dipped by 0.6% to £171.44 million as adverse weather and heavy snow across the UK “saw fewer people head outside to shop - impacting all categories.”

However, as the weather eased and as a sense of urgency hit those who hadn’t yet completed their Christmas shopping, trade picked up towards the end of the week.

Fashion sales were down by 1% year-on-year, which is undeniably bad news. But on the plus side, its own brand fashion product rose 7.6% and cashmere continued its triumphant run with a 31% surge. Men’s knitwear also saw a “record week”. Given these rises, it’s clear that some categories saw bigger falls than the overall 1% dip, butt he company didn’t share that information.

Home sales were down 2.2% on last year but, similarly to Fashion, sales picked up as the week progressed particularly in Christmas and Gift Food. The cold weather continued to drive sales in bedding and heating which were up 7.6% and an astonishing 281% respectively.

Electricals and home technology rose 1.5%, driven by sales in Smart Home. Promotions from Google and Amazon proved popular, as did the Star Wars merchandise that launched last week.

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