John Lewis gets weather boost

John Lewis Direct reported its best-ever bank holiday performance today after Easter Monday’s dismal weather provided the retailer with a sales boost.

John Lewis Direct reported its best-ever bank holiday performance today after Easter Monday’s dismal weather provided the retailer with a sales boost.

Online and catalogue sales for the week to last Saturday rose 23.8% on a year ago and ensured the group improved total sales by 1.3% in the period.

Store hours were shortened by Easter Sunday, but comparisons with the same Easter week last year showed a “stunning” 15% rise, John Lewis said.

Barry Matheson, head of selling, said it had been a “flying start” to the week as the wet and cold Easter Monday encouraged families to go shopping.

He added: “The pace continued through the week, particularly in those shops where school holidays had begun, and in the end nearly every shop beat its Easter figures from last year.”

John Lewis Direct’s best ever bank holiday – excluding clearance periods - reflected strong traffic and a “really encouraging” conversion rate as visitors to the site went on to make purchases.

The best performing store was Norwich after a sales lift of 11.1%, with Southampton and Trafford close behind with improvements of 9.1% and 9.8% respectively.

Peter Jones, the company’s Sloane Square store, posted a sales fall of 20.9% as the outlet continued to show signs of feeling pressure from the current squeeze on the financial sector.

Overall, Mr Matheson said the company needed to wait until the end of April to make sense of the distortions caused by the earlier fall of Easter.

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