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John Lewis wilts in heatwave as DIY indies ride high

Published: 19 July 2013
Sales dipped well below last year for the week to July 13 at John Lewis, a deficit blamed on the Ashes, Wimbledon and the heatwave - yet DIY and garden retailers up and down the country are rejoicing in a spate of much-needed sales brought on by the soaring mercury.
John Lewis wilts in heatwave as DIY indies ride high
In a massive contrast to its usual reports of year-on-year sales increases, John Lewis reported sales 8.7% below what they were for the same week last year, with booming sunglasses sales (+347%) and the outdoor living category (+127%) failing to make up for a widespread lack of footfall across stores.

The retailer remained upbeat in its trading update, however, pointing out record sales of sunshine-friendly lines and commenting: "The beautiful weather is set to continue... we will therefore need to work hard to tempt customers online or into store."

Meanwhile, it's been a different story altogether for the UK's network of DIY stores and garden centres, particularly independents such as Mainlys Mica Hardware, where customers have been making the most of the two-store independent's extensive summer-friendly range.

"We've had some of the three best weeks we've had in a long while," owner Colin Henrich told DIY Week. "We always tend to do well in extreme weather because we have what people need. We had some amazing trading days when we still had stock of fans and paddling pools - they sold out incredibly fast.

"Even now when we're out of stock of certain lines, sales are still doing extremely well. Fly repellents and swatters, for example - people come to us I think because they know we have what they need."

The BDO recently reported that while footfall on the high street is down 8% on last year, an echo of John Lewis' results, sales of BBQs and charcoal across the country are up 600%, with paddling pools, parasols and fan sales also up in treble figure increases.

It's a massive - and massively welcome - contrast to this time last year, when 87% of retailers responding to a DIY Week survey on the outdoor living category reported they "wouldn't count any aspect of outdoor living's performance [over the past year] a 'success'".

Read more in the July 26 issue of DIY Week.

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