John Lewis sales dip but fashion stays strong

It wasn’t a good week for John Lewis Partnership with its sales falling 1.6% to almost £211 million. But the John Lewis & Partners department store chain underperformed further with a 2.3% year-on-year fall in the seven days to October 13.


John Lewis

Once again it was the Home directory that was the problem (more of that later) but at least Fashion could hold its head up high with a 4% sales rise. Menswear was up 3.1% and men’s cashmere powered ahead by 12%, presumably spurred by slightly cooler weather (even if real autumnal conditions still seem some way off).

The company also said that women’s accessories did well with a 4.1% increase while Beauty, Wellbeing & Leisure sales were up 16.7%. However, this latter surge might not add much to profits as the company mainly saw rising sales due to it price-matching a competitor.

Electrical and Home Technology sales were down 4.8%. However, accessories sales were up 2.5% due to strong sales within earphones.

And now for that Home directory. Its sales fell 6.2%. While the company hailed the strength of its House brand that saw sales rising 4.4%, as well as buoyant sales of Gifts and Candles (up 3.4%), and Christmas trees and Gift Food, there’s no denying that Home overall is something of a problem. Its sales have weakened for some time now and show no sign of reversing that trend. 

There have even been suggestions that John Lewis’s status as the go-to store for the British middle classes is under threat and a weak economy could only add to the trend for even affluent consumers to trade down.

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