The John Lewis Partnership have released a Christmas trading update, showing relatively strong performance in both its department store and Waitrose grocery chain arms.

The group’s total sales rose by 4.1 percent to £1.81 billion in the six weeks to Jan, with John Lewis outperforming the Waitrose like-for-like. The department store saw gross sales rise by 6.9 percent; with Waitrose sales up by just 1.2 percent.

In a statement, the Partnership’s Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield commented:

“Our performance reflects to a large extent the significant investment we have made in our distribution and IT capability. Despite the fact trade was even more concentrated across a number of very busy shopping days, our operations performed especially well.

“Peak trade came particularly late this year and was more concentrated than usual in the days before Christmas. Waitrose had record trading days on 23 and 24 December, with sales up 6.0% and up 5.5% respectively.

“Our strong Christmas trading performance gives us further confidence in the guidance provided at our interim results in September, where we indicated that we expected the full year Profit before Partnership Bonus, tax and exceptionals to be between £270m and £320m.”

John Lewis has continued to outperform rivals due to a strong online site and a bias to the South-East of England. Their Christmas trading update showed far more favourable figures than that of Next, who were trading down 5 percent yesterday after warm weather caused their pre-Christmas sales figures to slide.

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