Last year, department store giant John Lewis dominated the retail sector with consecutive weeks of record-breaking sales in the run up to Christmas. Yet it appears this year could prove even more successful as John Lewis has already managed to achieve its biggest weekly sales record in history.
Thanks to the impact of Black Friday, John Lewis was able to record revenues of £179.1 million for the week ending on the 29th of November, equalling a 22 per cent increase on the same period in 2013. This beat the group’s previous sales record, set during the week to the 21st of December last year, by £14.7 million.
Operations director Dino Rocos praised staff and customers for the exceptional results, especially on Black Friday itself.
He said; “There was clearly huge customer anticipation of Black Friday this year and we knew we had high expectations to meet.
“While the sales figures are attention grabbing, for me our biggest achievement was delivering an operation which ran like clockwork.
“Our website coped well with exceptional demand whilst the atmosphere in our shops remained both seasonal and calm with customers enjoying extended opening hours and the great offers to be had.”
Electrical goods proved extremely popular with customers during the week, with an almost 41 per cent sales rise buoyed by a 127 per cent boost in demand for tablets and computers. However, defying present trends, fashion sales also rose impressively, with a 16 per cent year on year increase.
As a means of capitalising upon the much-hyped Black Friday shopping day, John Lewis stores around the country opened their doors from 8am so shoppers could pop in on their way to work and avoid missing out on top bargains.
This initiative helped stores in York, Liverpool, Southampton and Oxford Street, London, achieve their own individual record sales takings for the day – something which staff in the employee-owned partnership will surely be celebrating.
HIS Global Insight chief economist Howard Archer says; “The year on year gain was all the more impressive given that John Lewis had also taken Black Friday very seriously in 2013.
“The spectacular John Lewis performance highlights just how keen consumers have been to take advantage of Black Friday bargains.
“The desire has undoubtedly been heightened for many people by the extended squeeze on purchasing power coming from prolonged low earnings growth.”
This year, Black Friday saw British consumers spend £555.5 million online alone, with the figures from the high street yet to be totted up – although it has been confirmed by Experian and IMRG that footfall in towns and cities across the UK rose by 7.2 per cent on the day.
Yet whilst this is a fantastic result for retailers, especially considering the subdued consumer mood of late, economists continue to worry that the booming sales period so early in the Christmas trading season will have a negative impact upon profits further down the line.