John Lewis has reported strong Christmas trading, with gross sales up 4.9% to £998.1m.

The department store chain said like-for-like sales were up 2.7% in the six weeks to December 31 and profit before tax for the year ending 28 January 2017 is expected to be up on last year, with lower pension accounting charges offsetting trading pressures on profit.

However, although the retail expects to report profits up on last year, trading profit is under pressure.


Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis said: “This reflects the greater changes taking place across the retail sector. We expect those to quicken, especially in the next 12 months as the effects of weaker Sterling feed through. We will now accelerate aspects of our strategy. This will involve a period of significant change, investment and innovation to ensure the Partnership’s success.”

Online sales were up 11.8%, representing 40% of sales, while shop sales were up 0.8%.

“We traded strongly over Christmas with sales up nearly 5% and both Waitrose and John Lewis grew market share.  Sales were particularly strong in the areas that have been the focus for product innovation this year, such as our John Lewis own-brand fashion. Our multi-channel capability has again proved its worth with online accounting for 40% of total sales in John Lewis,” Sir Charlie added.