Black Friday delivers record week for John Lewis

Black Friday delivers record week for John Lewis

LONDON (Reuters) – British retailer John Lewis [JLPLC.UL] set a record for weekly sales in the seven days to Nov. 28 after trading was boosted by "Black Friday" discounts both online & in its department stores.

The employee-owned retailer posted sales of 187.7 million pounds during the week, it said on Friday, up 4.8 percent from 2014 when the U.S. shopping tradition turned into a retail frenzy with long queues & fights over bargains.

After last year's scuffles, the jump in demand this year for John Lewis & rivals alike came online rather than in shops, with sales on the John Lewis website up 15.5 percent from the same week a year earlier.

The retailer had already said "Black Friday" was its busiest ever single day of trading, a feat shared with online retailer Amazon UK & Dixons Carphone, Britain's largest electrical goods & mobile phone chain.

For sales in British stores, though, Black Friday was a damp squib, accountancy & business advisory firm BDO LLP said on Friday. Its monthly high street sales tracker recorded a 4.3 percent drop in year-on-year sales for November.

But Sophie Michael, head of retail & wholesale at BDO, said retailers' margins may well have fared better this year.

"Last year's Black Friday caught many stores off guard & panic discounting played havoc with stock levels, leading to erosion in margin & reputational damage when websites crashed & logistics went awry," said BDO's Michael.

This year, retailers opted for strategic, staggered discounts more closely aligned with stock levels, she said.

"The net result was a fall in sales against a high base, yet retailers may well have protected their margins," Michael said.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by David Clarke)

Source: “Reuters”