Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

John Lewis Sets Holiday Tone for U.K. Retailers With Sales Gain

  • Revenue in the `busy' week before Christmas increased 2.3%
  • Sales via store operator's website surged 25% in the period

John Lewis department stores increased their takings in the week leading up to Christmas as British shoppers snapped up items such as tablets, headphones and cameras.

Sales rose 2.3 percent to 129.2 million pounds ($191 million), the employee-owned U.K. retailer said in a statement Thursday. Growth would have been stronger had the prior-year week not included the first day of the post-holiday clearance sale, it said.

“This was a busy week for us,” Andy Street, managing director, said in a statement. “Customers were shopping right until the last moment for Christmas.”

John Lewis’s figures provide the first insight into how British stores fared in the final week before the holiday. The retailer will report on the entire six-week Christmas season on Jan. 6. The holiday-reporting period for U.K. retailers commences the day before that, when Next Plc publishes its figures.

The John Lewis website had a strong pre-Christmas week with revenue up 25 percent, the company said. Sales of tablets and other computing equipment jumped 21 percent, with gaming and wearable technology among the best sellers, it said. The photo and print department posted 12 percent growth.

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