‘More loafers and fewer sofas’, says John Lewis as big-ticket sales slip

Department store retailer John Lewis Partnership has reported a growth in half year sales while narrowing losses.

According to its latest unaudited interim results for the 26 weeks ended 29 July 2023, total sales rose 2% to £5.8bn, with pre-tax losses reducing by 41% from £99.2m to £59m.

During the period, the Partnership, which includes both John Lewis and Waitrose, saw 600,000 more customers shopping across the company, taking the total number of Partnership customers to 21.4 million.

“Customers are spending more on themselves (beauty, fashion and dining in) but holding back on technology and big-ticket home items,” the retailer said.

John Lewis sales were £2.1bn, down 2%. “Customers were more cautious about ‘big ticket’ items in Home and Tech (down 5% and 4% respectively); in effect it’s been a case of ‘more loafers and fewer sofas’. Interest bearing credit is now available online and will be available in store from mid-October – ahead of peak – to help customers spread the cost,” the group continued.

The balance between store and online purchases remained broadly unchanged at 43% and 57% respectively. Shop sales improved by 2% driven by increased footfall while online declined 4% owing to weaker conversion.

Sharon White, Chairman of the Partnership, said: “The Partnership is a unique model that has been tested and come through stronger many times in our 100 year history. While change is never easy – and there is a long road ahead – there are reasons for optimism. Performance is improving. More customers are shopping with us. Trust in the brands and support for the Partnership model remain high.”

Nish Kankiwala, Chief Executive of the Partnership, said: “Our transformation to modernise our business is well under way, and I want to thank our Partners for their efforts to give customers great service, quality and value when they shop with us in store or online. There are no brands better placed than Waitrose and John Lewis to provide customers with what they need right now – to help them feel good and eat well.”

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