05 October 2012 10:01
The rapid descent into Autumn helped department store chain John Lewis notch up a 26.5% hike in sales, the group said today.
John Lewis posted sales of £72.7 million in the week to September 29th as the autumn weather set in, boosting clothing sales and childrenswear in particular, which leapt 77% higher.
Sales of women's boots soared by 165% and womenswear overall rose 49% in the week, which saw a marked contrast in weather compared with last year's Indian summer.
John Lewis said there was plenty of take-up of its price matching promise due to mid-season sales among many of its rivals.
The division's online arm, johnlewis.com, clocked up its second highest number of customer visits ever, which helped sales rise 48.4%.
Maggie Porteus, head of selling operations at John Lewis, said the chilly weather put customers in "the right mood for shopping".
Shoppers were also looking for cold weather comfort food at the group's grocery arm Waitrose, with sales of beef mince up 38%, beef joints up 37% and lamb up nearly 17% as shoppers retreated indoors to cook up hearty meals.
But overall sales at the supermarket chain slowed to 6.9% in its weakest performance for a month.
John Lewis said it was launching Christmas across its department stores this week in what retailers will no doubt hope proves a good festive season to make up for a mixed year on the high street.
Freddie George, retail analyst at Seymour Pierce, said today's "exceptional" sales figures for John Lewis reinforced hopes of a sustained pick-up in spending, helped by a post Olympics feel-good factor.
He said: "Recent data appears to indicate that retail sales have strengthened during September partly due to easy comparatives, but also possibly due a pick up in consumer confidence helped by the successful Olympics.
"There are also signs that consumers are now more open to taking out credit to boost their spending."
John Lewis recently posted half-year results revealing a 60% rise in profits to £144.5 million in the six months to July 28th, thanks to the summer's sporting events and celebrations.
The employee-owned partnership has 37 John Lewis shops and 284 Waitrose supermarkets.