Gross Christmas sales at the John Lewis Partnership were down 1.8% versus 2018 to £2,167 million.
Waitrose & Partners gross sales (excluding fuel) were £1,033m, down 1.3% versus last year (due to shop closures) but up 0.4% on a like-for-like basis. John Lewis & Partners gross sales were £1,134m, down 2.3% versus last year and down 2.0% on a like-for-like basis. However, online sales were encouraging – Waitrose & Partners online sales increased by 16.7% and in the seven days to Christmas online grocery orders were up 23.4%. John Lewis & Partners online sales increased by 1.4%.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We saw a good sales performance in Waitrose & Partners, despite a weak grocery market, with like-for-like sales up 0.4%. In John Lewis & Partners like-for-like sales were 2.0% down on last year. 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%. We saw significant variation in levels of demand with Black Friday sales up 10.0% on the equivalent period last year, followed by more subdued demand in the subsequent weeks.
"In Waitrose & Partners we saw encouraging progress against our milestones to accelerate growth online next year, with a 23.4% increase in orders and an increase in basket sizes in the seven days to Christmas."
"At the full year, we expect profits in Waitrose & Partners to be broadly in line with last year. In John Lewis & Partners we will reverse the losses incurred in the first half of the year, but profits will be substantially down on last year. We therefore expect that Partnership profit before exceptionals will be significantly lower than last year. Our balance sheet and liquidity position are strong and we expect to improve our Debt Ratio2."