John Lewis Sales Dip as Black Friday Pulls U.K. Shopping Forward

John Lewis department stores in the U.K. reported a drop in sales for the last full week before Christmas, showing how the increased number of Black Friday retail events is pulling forward British holiday spending.

Revenue declined 2.4 percent from a year earlier to 160.6 million pounds ($250 million), the employee-owned company said today in a statement, less than the record 179.1 million pounds in the week through Nov. 29. Sales of electrical items such as tablets and phones slid 11 percent, “a sign of the growing significance of Black Friday,” John Lewis said.

Black Friday, traditionally a U.S. phenomenon, is becoming ingrained in the fabric of U.K. retailing as shoppers rush to secure the best of the bargains offered by most big chains and supermarkets. Researchers IMRG and Experian have estimated that 810 million pounds was spent online on Nov. 28, more than the 748 million pounds they predict will be spent on Dec. 26, the traditional start date for end-of-season clearance events.

Last week’s slower sales at John Lewis “reflects the changing shape of Christmas trade with an early peak at the end of November,” the retailer said. The stores are, however, “ready for a very busy final trading day before the festive break.”

Separate figures released today by researcher Ipsos Retail Performance showed that the number of shoppers entering non-food stores in the U.K. declined by 1.8 percent in the week commencing Dec. 14, compared with the same week last year.

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