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Online sales surge at UK retailer John Lewis news
13 January 2014

UK retailer John Lewis has reported an increase of over a third in online sales, as major retailers reported trading performances after their busiest shopping period this Christmas.

The company last week celebrated ''excellent behind-the-scenes'' support from IT and operations as it helped deliver high levels of customer service.

Online sales came in at an outstanding 34.4 per cent ahead of last year, according to Barry Matheson, John Lewis' director of retail services, in the company's sales results for the week to 4 January 2014.

Meanwhile, retailer Waitrose saw excellent Christmas sales this year while rival House of Fraser also said it had enjoyed its best Christmas trading period on record.

Lidl and Aldi's Christmas sales are yet to be published, according to a spokesman from Lidl who spoke to Fresh Produce Journal. He said 2013 had been its most successful year, while Aldi also claimed to have enjoyed its busiest Christmas since opening in 1990.

Meanwhile, according to a consumer behaviour expert, who spoke to The Guardian, retailers who announced disappointing results were guilty of resting on their laurels.

He added one of the basic rules of consumer behaviour was that people were willing to pay far more before Christmas than afterwards. He added, by copying competitors and discounting too quickly, the retailers were not able to take advantage of this very profitable quirk of consumer psychology.

Meanwhile, John Lewis surged ahead of Marks & Spencer and Debenhams over the New Year, with a big jump in sales.

The retailer's in-store sales jumped 23.6 per cent in the week ending 4 January to 113.4 million, even as total sales including online rose 15.8 per cent.

Supermarket chain Waitrose also registered a huge sales increase, up 9.3 per cent over the week. According to commentators it might seem as if shoppers were stocking up on healthy products in time for New Year's resolutions, with vegetables, porridge and green tea selling like hot cakes.

The shopping frenzy comes after record Christmas sales from John Lewis, with kitchen appliances and iPads hotsellers over the festive season.

According to Matheson, after getting off to a cracking start immediately after Christmas the retailer's clearance performance continued to be strong last week, resulting in an outstanding 23.6 per cent on last year.

Even as it was celebration time at John Lewis, competitors Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Debenhams had little to celebrate.

The former saw clothing sales down for the 10th straight quarter, even as Debenhams ended up issuing a profit warning due to aggressive discounting, followed by the exit of its finance chief.

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Online sales surge at UK retailer John Lewis