John Lewis has reported record pre-Christmas sales of £157.8m, up 26.5% on the same week last year, with more to come as the department store chain reported huge crowds for the Boxing Day sale. John Lewis’ towering sales records were set by shoppers who queued up in front of its stores to buy gifts such as iPads, coffee machines and handbags.
John Lewis launched Sale on its online platform at 5pm on Christmas Eve and reported record-breaking number of orders, scaling 70% year on year in the first hour itself. Shoppers’ visits to the John Lewis website rose up by 24% on Christmas Day and sales increased by 40% year on year. Sales peaked between 9pm and 10pm, John Lewis reported.
It may be noted that in the week to December 15, John Lewis had reported increase in sales to £147.8 million, a 11% increase over the same week last year.
Last week, John Lewis’ sales smashed the £150m-mark, with the 150-year-old retailer’s sales exceeding £570m over the last month, which included three record weeks. Andy Street, managing director of the department store chain, said that it has been a ‘tablet Christmas’, as strong sales were seen in gadgets such as the iPad and Kurio. Traditional gifts such as perfume, candles, purses and cufflinks picked up later on.
The Christmas shopping fever reached to dizzying heights as 2,500 people queued round the block to be first into Selfridges on Oxford Street, which was offering discounts of up to 75% on designer labels such as Alexander McQueen, Prada, Céline and Yves Saint Laurent. In the first hour of trading itself, Selfridges recorded £1.5m sales, putting it on course to record takings at its four UK stores.
With the internet eclipsing in-store sales, retailers are expecting big increases in online sales from last year, as widespread tablets and smartphones fever grips Britons on Christmas Eve.