John Lewis today publishes its five-week sales update, revealing a strong omnichannel Christmas. According to the group, all areas of the business, from shops and online through to its fulfilment centres and delivery operations, have worked effectively to deliver success in a year when customers have wanted their shopping experience to be more co-ordinated and convenient than ever.
For the five weeks to 27 December 2014, total sales were £777m – +5.8% compared with last year, and +4.8% on a like-for-like basis. Compared with two years ago total sales were +13.4%, whilst like-for-like sales grew by 12%.
Online sales for the five weeks were +19% on last year, with johnlewis.com representing 36% (versus 32% last year) of total John Lewis sales during this period. As the retailer anticipated, the Click & Collect delivery option is proving to be the delivery means of choice, with 56% of its online orders being collected in shops, overtaking home delivery at Christmas.
Sales in the group's shops for the five weeks remained level with last year. Its At Home and new-format shops including Exeter, Poole, Chichester, Heathrow and St Pancras, grew their business during the Christmas season. Throughout the period, the importance of John Lewis' shops in the omnichannel journey was confirmed as a place of inspiration and customer collection.
The standout feature driving a new shape of trade was the retailer's success on Black Friday (28th November). This yielded an early sales peak and impacted the shape of trade over the five-week period. It was the biggest week for sales in the retailer's 150-year history and was up +22% on last year, with johnlewis.com experiencing a 300% increase in traffic during the early hours of trading on Black Friday itself.
MD Andy Street says: "This year confirmed the new shape of trade for Christmas, with an early peak at the end of November driven by Black Friday and last-minute gift buying. With Black Friday driving a higher proportion of online sales and customers increasingly wanting more convenience, this has meant a real concentration on fulfilment, making this a truly 'Logistics Christmas'. The investments we have made and the new capabilities we have built in recent years in distribution and IT have been fundamental in ensuring we successfully navigate this changing shape of trade.
"Underpinning all of this was the renowned service from John Lewis Partners in our shops and contact centres, as well as our 'Never Knowingly Undersold' commitment which is ever more important in this era of price transparency. Our shops continue to have a critical role to play in the omnichannel shopping journey, and will be a major development focus for us over the coming months. To that end, we will be opening two further At Home shops in Horsham and Basingstoke in 2015 as well as our new regional flagship in the heart of Birmingham in September, which will set an exciting new benchmark in bricks and mortar retailing."