Press releases

John Lewis Partnership Christmas trading update for six weeks ending 2 January 2016

Wednesday 6 January 2016

 

Highlights include:

  • Total sales at the John Lewis Partnership in the six weeks to Saturday 2 January were up 4.1% from the same period last year to £1,811.1m
  • Waitrose gross sales (excluding fuel) were £859.8m, up 1.2% compared with last year and down 1.4% on a like-for-like basis
  • John Lewis gross sales were £951.3m, up 6.9% compared with last year and up 5.1% on a like-for-like basis
  • Expectations for profit before Partnership Bonus, tax and exceptionals for the year ending 30 January 2016 remains unchanged at between £270m and £320m versus £342.7m last year.

 

Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, commented:

'This has been a strong Christmas trading period for the Partnership despite the non-food market seeing significant shifts in trade patterns and the grocery market continuing to be challenging.

John Lewis achieved another very strong sales performance with impressive growth across all three categories of Fashion, Home and Technology.  Waitrose had record trading days leading up to Christmas and good growth online, while like-for-like sales declined overall during the six-week period.

Click and Collect continued to show the strength of our two brands working together as a proposition for customers, with 35% of John Lewis online orders collected from Waitrose branches. I was particularly pleased to see overall customer numbers increase 5.8% against the same period last year.

Our performance reflects to a large extent the significant investment we have made in our distribution and IT capability. Despite the fact trade was even more concentrated across a number of very busy shopping days, our operations performed especially well.'

Waitrose

  • Sales (excluding fuel) up 1.2% to £859.8m, with like-for-like sales down 1.4%
  • Strong online sales growth with grocery sales up 7.9%, with sales over the Christmas and New Year weeks up 9.8%
  • Sales through direct services websites - including wines, hampers, flowers and kitchen gadgets - grew by 28.1%

 

Peak trade came particularly late this year and was more concentrated than usual in the days before Christmas. Waitrose had record trading days on 23 and 24 December, with sales up 6.0% and up 5.5% respectively.

Our dot.com fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, which celebrated its first Christmas, operated effectively with almost all slots filled as early as November.

John Lewis

  • Sales up 6.9% to £951.3m, with like-for-like sales up 5.1%
  • Online sales were up 21.4%, representing 40% of total sales
  • Balanced contribution from all three product areas, Home up 5.1%, Fashion up 6.1% and EHT (technology) up 9.6%
  • Successful start to Clearance with sales up 23.0% for week ending 2 January1

Patterns of trade shifted significantly, characterised by three distinct sales peaks – Black Friday, Christmas and Clearance – with higher sales and a different channel mix for each peak.

The combination of our shops, website and fulfilment centres worked together effectively.  For example, on the Black Friday weekend our distribution teams processed 18% more parcels than last year, which equated to five units per second during the peak hour. Sales in our shops for the total six week period were down 1.2%, reflecting lower footfall pre-Christmas, but were up 16.2% during the first week of Clearance (week ending 2 January).

Online sales grew by 21.4% compared to last year and mobile continued to be our fastest-growing channel, with sales from smartphones and tablets up 31%. Sales through Click & Collect were up 16% and it was the delivery method of choice for half of all online orders.

John Lewis Partnership full year profit guidance

Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, commented:

'Our strong Christmas trading performance gives us further confidence in the guidance provided at our interim results in September, where we indicated that we expected the full year Profit before Partnership Bonus, tax and exceptionals to be between £270m and £320m.  This guidance reflected both good operational progress but also an increase of approximately £60 million in pension charges as a result of market driven volatility.  Our guidance therefore remains unchanged.'

John Lewis Partnership plc will report its full year results ended 30 January 2016 on 10 March 2016.

1This figure includes the first day of Clearance in shops moving into Week 48 this year. Last year the first day of Clearance in shops was Saturday 27 December 2014. This year it was Sunday 27 December 2015.


Notes to editors

The John Lewis Partnership - The John Lewis Partnership operates 46 John Lewis shops across the UK (32 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2), johnlewis.com, 346 Waitrose shops, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £10bn. It is the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 88,700 staff are Partners in the business.

Waitrose - the Nation's Favourite Supermarket¹ and winner of the Best Supermarket² and Best Food and Grocery Retailer³ awards - currently has 346 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 62 convenience branches, and another 28 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service.  Waitrose also exports its products to 58 countries worldwide and has seven shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. Waitrose's omnichannel business includes the online grocery service Waitrose.com, as well as direct services websites including a specialist wine website (waitrosecellar.com)

¹ Which? Best Supermarket, 2015
² Good Housekeeping Best Supermarket 2015
³ Verdict Best Food and Grocery Retailer 2015

John Lewis - 'Best Clothing Retailer 2015', Best Electricals Retailer 2015' and 'Best Homewares Retailer 2015'¹, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com stocks over 280,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

¹ Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2015

You can follow John Lewis on the following social media channels:
www.johnlewis.com/twitter
www.johnlewis.com/facebook
www.johnlewis.com/youtube.


Enquiries

For further information please contact:

John Lewis Partnership
Andrew Moys, Director of Communications
Telephone: 07525 272377
Katie Robson, Senior Manager, Group External Communications
Telephone: 07764 675608

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Simon Rigby
Georgia Colkin
Telephone: 020 7638 9571

John Lewis
Peter Cross, Director, Communications
Telephone: 07764 697674
Sîan Grieve, Senior Communications Manager, Corporate & Brand
Telephone: 07525 271812

Waitrose
Christine Watts, Communications Director
Telephone: 07764 676414
Gill Smith, Senior Manager, Corporate PR
Telephone: 07887 898133