March 9 2014 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Electrical sales powered a strong festive period for the Norwich branch of John Lewis as online trading and clearance sale figures reached new highs.
The All Saints Green store witnessed a 10pc upsurge in online sales last month – including a 21pc rise in customer’s using its click and collect service – as internet shopping counted for 29pc of the store’s overall trade.
And the clearance sale brought further festive cheer, as like-for-like sales rose 15pc on December 27 compared to last year, with online sales also climbing by 28pc.
The local picture mirrors an impressive Christmas period for the department store nationally, as it notched up a 6.9pc like-for-like sales increase.
Total sales for the five weeks to December 28 reached £734m, including a 1.2pc boost for shops and a 22.6pc rise in online takings compared with 2012.
The first day of clearance sales in branches saw the biggest ever day of trading across the business as it took £35.6m.
But it remained a period of mixed fortunes for other high street department stores, with House of Fraser’s sales rising 7.3pc after a last-minute rush to stores, while Debenhams announced the resignation of its finance boss Simon Herrick following its disappointing Christmas trading.
Lesley George, personnel manager at the Norwich branch of John Lewis, said a strong customer appetite for tablets and headphones helped drive the sales boost.
“We have had phenomenal tablet trade in 2013, which we imagine will start to come down a bit this year, while headphone sales have spiked.
“We have tried to strengthen our after sales service on the electrical side through our guarantee offers, while our fashion range has always been a strong performer locally. The home department has taken a knock in the last couple of years because of the housing market, but we are expecting that to pick up this year.”
Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said sales over the five weeks had taken a different shape to previous years, with an early peak and a “huge surge” in the last 10 days, including a frenetic Monday two days before Christmas.
“Many of the big online shopping days and weeks occurred earlier in the period but shops were packed in the last-minute rush on ‘manic Monday’ when we saw our city centre shops record peak days,” he said.
He added that “must-have” items included tablet computers, Christmas lights and coffee machines.
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