Handbags, Apple Watch boost John Lewis

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Fashion, handbags, accessories, wearable tech and the website were all standout performers at John Lewis in the latest week, which is good news. But has the week been generally positive given that seven days ago John Lewis reported week-on-week sales up an astonishing 60.1% thanks to Black Friday?

Now that the dust has settled, have the figures sunk back? Well, yes and no. Obviously, for the week ended December 5, the retailer was never going to repeat that previous performance. But sales for the period still rose 3.5% compared to a year ago and Johnlewis.com rose 13.6% year-on-year.

Compared to the previous week, sales fell 11.6% but that’s pretty impressive given that earlier 60%-plus leap.

At the beginning of the latest week, sales were driven by the final days of John Lewis price matching competitors that were discounting like crazy. And Cyber Monday, which fell into the latest week, was a big day for parcel deliveries with 22.4% more units successfully fulfilled year-on-year, reflecting the money John Lewis has spent on its online ops in the past year.

So what were people buying? As I said at the start, fashion led the way with sales up 5.7% year-on-year. Star performances came from handbags and accessories (up 8.5%), and menswear at (up 7.3%). Despite relatively mild temperatures, cold weather items performed well, with menswear predominantly being driven by outerwear (up 10%), and women’s boots proving strong (up 18%).

It was another strong week for wearable tech, which rose an amazing 70.8% and it was John Lewis’s best-ever week of sales for Apple watches, although we don’t know how many it sold (nobody ever seems to want to talk about numbers when it comes to one of the most hyped products of recent years).

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