Weather gives John Lewis and Waitrose a sales lift

Tom Athron: Waitrose is competing with larger rivals. Picture: Contributed

Tom Athron: Waitrose is competing with larger rivals. Picture: Contributed

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WARMER weather has given sales at John Lewis a boost, with its Glasgow store enjoying the strongest growth last week.

The employee-owned firm, which also owns upmarket grocer Waitrose, said the long-awaited sunshine encouraged customers to splash out on sandals, sunglasses and swimwear, helping sales grow 5.3 per cent in the week to 27 April.

Amanda Scott, head of buying for women’s accessories, said: “Customers are more than ready to embrace summer when it arrives.”

Glasgow saw the biggest increase among the group’s 39 department stores, with sales 14.5 per cent higher than the same period last year. Aberdeen gained 6.5 per cent, while takings at its Edinburgh branch edged up 1.1 per cent.

The first signs of spring also helped sales at Waitrose, which defied the squeeze on consumer spending to deliver an 8.4 per cent rise in revenues to £116 million last week.

Customers stocking up on sun cream sent suncare sales soaring 158 per cent, while ice cream sales jumped 21 per cent. Waitrose said demand for salads and cider was also much stronger than last year.

Finance director Tom Athron said the 291-strong chain was competing effectively with its bigger rivals Sainsbury’s and Tesco on pricing, while its extended brand price match helped it win new customers.

He added: “What is so significant is that the vast majority of our growth has been achieved by an increase in volume sales from established branches, with just one shop opening so far this financial year.”

Recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed Waitrose’s market share hit a record 4.9 per cent in the 12 weeks to mid-April, up from 4.5 per cent a year earlier.

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