Online grocery orders boomed at Waitrose, up 23.4%, as John Lewis and Partners said it performed strongly operationally in the run up to Christmas.
Gross sales at John Lewis Partnership were down 1.8% year-on-year to £2,167m with its John Lewis division seeing gross sales fall 2.3% year-on-year to £1.13 bn – a drop of 2% on a like-for-like basis.
However, Waitrose – which pointed to store closures as the reason behind a fall in gross sales – saw like-for-like sales increase 0.4%.
Furthermore Waitrose & Partners’ online sales increased 16.7%, and during the week before Christmas, online grocery orders were up 23.4%, and John Lewis & Partners’ sales increased by 1.4%.
Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Operationally – across availability, service, delivery and online – we saw a strong performance in both brands.”
“In John Lewis & Partners, Beauty sales were up 4.7%, comfortably ahead of the market, with overall Fashion sales up 0.1%. Home sales were down 3.4% and Electricals & Home Technology sales were down 4.0%.”
Meanwhile MD Paula Nickolds is to step down next month. Nickolds has been with John Lewis for 25 year and the retailer said: “After some reflection on the responsibilities of her proposed new role, we have decided together that the implementation of the future partnership structure in February is the right time for her to move on.”