John Lewis weekly sales in spotlight as UK fashion retail slumbers

With UK fashion retail having proved weak in October and early November and many businesses saying little about how they’re doing, one business that does share more information is being closely watched - John Lewis.

John Lewis

The retailer released its latest set to weekly sales figures on Tuesday morning and it seems that fashion is still struggling to find a place on shoppers’ priority lists for now.

The company has had a strong year on the fashion front overall but after a good start to the autumn season, its October sales dipped. Last week saw a slight recovery but this week has gone back into reverse.

Looking at the bigger picture, the retailer’s total sales fell 3.2% in the week to November 11 to £108.79 million. But Fashion directory sakes were down 4.2%. Given hat John Lewis has been one of the more successful chains in recent years, this suggests that the rest of the UK fashion retail market could be even weaker.

Was there any good news in John Lewis’s report? Well, beauty, wellbeing and leisure sales rose 7.2% and beauty alone in particular enjoyed even stronger sales with double-digit growth. That’s no surprise given the start of the Christmas shopping season, and consumers’ focus on the festivities was borne out by toys also performing well.

But once again, Home directory sales were down, falling this time by 4.6%. Cookshop, however, had a good week and premium products within bathshop also saw a sales rise. Elsewhere, beds were up 3% with bedlinen also up on last year.

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