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John Lewis helped by swimwear launch, despite overall weakness

Published
today Mar 26, 2019
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John Lewis Partnership sales don't seem to be improving at the moment with a 4% drop to £206.08 million in the seven days up to March 23. And that drop was largely accounted for by weakness at the company’s John Lewis department stores chain.


John Lewis



In fact, sales at the department stores were down by as much as 8.9%, a worrying fall that the company explained by the fact that it “annualised a week of promotions in the run up to Easter last year.” Unfortunately, sales during March and April can be extremely volatile given the widely varying date of Easter during those two months in successive years.

That impact could be seen from the performance of the Fashion department, which is usually the strongest part of the John Lewis operation. In the latest week, the department’s sales fell 1.3%, which the company said was directly due “to the Easter holidays starting later this year.”

But once again, it delivered impressive performance on the part of some of the own-brands in which it has invested heavily in the last couple of years. Sales of its own-brand swimwear were up 19% compared to last year, following the launch of its new John Lewis & Partners swimwear collection.

Was there any improvement in the declining Home department? No there wasn’t, and the department’s sales fall was actually worse than it has been for a while. Its sales were down 11.3%, even though the warmer weather saw sales of outdoor living products up 8% on the same week last year.  

Electrical and Home Technology sales were also significantly weaker, falling 14.7%, as the same week last year saw new product launches from Apple.

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