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Logistics key to retail sales

LONDON: UK retailer John Lewis has described the five-week period to December 27, 2014 as a "logistics Christmas" as sales totaled a record £777 million, an increase of 5.8 percent compared to 2013 and up 13.4 percent from 2012.

John lewis store at airportWith online sales rising 19 percent over last year's holiday season, the company says its 'Click & Collect' delivery option - buying on line and collecting from a store - totaled 56 percent of online orders, overtaking home delivery services for the first time.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis commented: "This year confirmed the new shape of trade for Christmas, with an early peak at the end of November driven by Black Friday and last minute gift buying.

'With Black Friday driving a higher proportion of online sales and customers increasingly wanting more convenience, this has meant a real concentration on fulfillment, making this a truly logistics Christmas. The investments we have made and the new capabilities we have built in recent years in distribution and IT have been fundamental in ensuring we successfully navigate this changing shape of trade."

The company says 'Black Friday' on November 28 led the biggest weekly sales bounce in its history with sales up 22 percent year-on-year as its website saw a 300 percent increase in traffic during the first hours of trading on the first day.

John Lewis operates 43 shops across the UK and is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership with all staff partners in a business that also includes the Waitrose supermarket chain.

Group revenue for the first half of 2014 was £4.46 billion to produce an operating profit of £176 million and profit before tax of £129.8 million.

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