Joy for John Lewis as sales reach £500m

JOHN Lewis today said it had notched up more than £500 million in sales across its department stores after a record-breaking festive season.

The group reported that comparable sales soared by 12.7 per cent year-on-year to 500.76 million in the five weeks to 2 January thanks to "excellent" Christmas and clearance trading.

Its resurgent supermarket chain Waitrose also hailed a strong Christmas, with total sales up 16.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to 26 December.

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Like-for-like sales rose 9 per cent at the group's grocery arm – a performance which has thrown down the gauntlet to rivals ahead of Christmas trading updates from Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer later this week.

John Lewis Partnership said its department stores broke a series of records, smashing its best ever weekly sales record in early December and seeing sales surpass the 100m milestone for four of the five trading weeks, including the week to 2 January.

Managing director Andy Street said: "We have seen excellent sales during Christmas and Clearance – customers have responded extremely well to our offer."

A Boxing Day sales rush made up for a disappointing pre-Christmas run-up, with a record number of shoppers hitting the high street on 26 and 27 December, according to footfall figures from market data firm Experian.

It said there was an 18.5 per cent jump in the number of Boxing Day shoppers compared with the previous year, with a 17.9 per cent rise on 27 December.