John Lewis ‘at home’ store format ‘powers ahead’

Weather woes took their toll on sales at John Lewis in the week to October 26 – but four ‘at home’ stores generated double-figure increases.

John Lewis director, retail services Barry Matheson said: “At the beginning of the week we got off to a flying start but as the relatively mild and very wet weather enveloped the UK, trade tailed off towards the weekend.”

Overall the department store group’s sales rose 6.9% compared to the same week last year, which he described as “steady progress, very much in line with our recent performance”.

The Chichester branch was a casualty of the wet weather, with flash flooding causing widespread damage, although “thanks to the incredible efforts of staff, the shop was up and trading remarkably quickly and managed to contain the damage”.

Meanwhile, the chain’s latest refurbishment at High Wycombe “continues to receive a phenomenal response from customers and generated some great sales (+33.8%) on last year”.

Other stores generating significant double-figure increases were the ‘at home’ shops at Swindon, Tamworth, Chester and Tunbridge Wells which “all powered ahead”.

Among the full-line shops, Milton Keynes led the way, showing the success of last year’s investment in its refurbishment.

“This week marks the beginning of the very sharp lift towards peak trading,” Barry Matheson said. “The half term holiday in England, extra footfall from the tablet launch, a price matching extravaganza and the launch of ‘my John Lewis’ [membership card scheme] all combine to make this a really exciting week of opportunities. Let us take maximum advantage from them.”

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