JOHN Lewis’ three Scottish branches notched up double-digit sales gains last week as the department store chain continued its winning streak.
The group reported sales of £91.8 million for the week to 5 January, a rise of 25.7 per cent on a year earlier as the first full week of its annual “clearance” sale kept tills ringing.
Electronics sales were especially strong, up 44 per cent on last year thanks to soaring demand for tablet computers. Analysts believe the chain has benefited from the demise of Comet and could see additional trade on photographic lines following this week’s collapse of Jessops.
North of the Border, Aberdeen was the strongest performer, takings up 15.2 per cent, year-on-year. Glasgow was up 14.1 per cent while Edinburgh rose 12 per cent. At Johnlewis.com, overall sales surged 45.3 per cent.
Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “Notwithstanding the adverse ‘mix effect’ of so much business coming in low-margin electricals, John Lewis have had a terrific second half, despite tough comparisons.”
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, suggested the impressive clearance results so far could be attributed to shoppers holding out for the post-Christmas sales.
He said: “The very impressive John Lewis sales figures suggest that consumers were very keen to take advantage of genuine bargains in the clearance sales to treat themselves to items that they were otherwise reluctant to make in a still difficult and uncertain economic environment.”
John Lewis said there would be plenty of new ranges and promotions “to excite the customers” next week.
The results follow figures last week confirming a buoyant Christmas for the employee-owned retailer, with a last-minute rush before the holidays earning it £684.8m in sales in the five weeks to 29 December.