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John Lewis reports strong Christmas sales

British high street retailer John Lewis said today that it recorded strong sales in the run-up to Christmas, with good performance online and in its shops.

The department store chain reported a 13% growth in like-for-like sales in the five weeks to the end of December and total sales were up 14.8% to GBP684.8m. Internet sales via the John Lewis website were particularly strong, increasing by 44.3% year-on-year.

Online sales now represent a quarter of the group’s total sales but John Lewis stressed that this has not been at the expense of its shops, as both channels are growing together. Consumers also appreciate the convenience of being able to shop via the Internet and then collect purchases in-store, John Lewis managing director Andy Street noted.

When pre-Christmas trading came to an end and the sales began, John Lewis saw a further spike in sales. This came at 17:00 on Christmas Eve online, when the company opened its clearance website, and in stores on 27 December when the shops reopened after the Christmas break and the company registered its best day of trade ever.

Industry predictions about the strength of online shopping this Christmas were surpassed, information services company Experian said last week. Figures compiled from the Experian Hitwise online competitive intelligence tool show that Christmas 2012 was the biggest and busiest ever for online retailers in the UK.

Overall, Internet users in the UK made 84 million visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day, an increase of 86% and 71% respectively compared to the same days in December 2011. On Boxing Day consumers made 113 million visits to online retail sites, up 17% from a year earlier.


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