John Lewis suffers as snow falls, but cold weather fashion rises

today Feb 5, 2019
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John Lewis Partnership sales edged up in the week to February 2 with a 1.1% rise to just over £200 million. But that was accounted for by higher sales at its Waitrose supermarkets and the company’s John Lewis department stores chain had a difficult week.

John Lewis

The reason? One word… snow. The company said that total sales fell 4.4% at the chain and even the usually buoyant Fashion department’s sales were down by 2.1%, highlighting how vulnerable even the strongest businesses are to the weather at certain times of year.

That said, Women’s Accessories had another strong week with sales up 11.1% as customers bought items to keep warm. And sales of boots were up an impressive 100%, presumably for the same reason. The company’s own-brand success story continued too and its own-brand womenswear sales rose again year-on-year, although we have to assume the rise was small as the company didn’t give us a figure (it usually shouts very loudly if the figure has been a strong one).

Once again though it was the Home department that was the weak link in the chain. Its sales were down 6%, even though sales of its new season, own-brand House range were up 7% and sales of Gifts rose by 7.8% as a result of customers beginning to shop for Valentine’s Day.  

And while Electrical and Home Technology sales were down 5.1%. Communications Technology sales rose 4.5%, helped by demand for smartwatches.

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