Next and John Lewis defy gloom with strong Christmas growth

Christmas shoppers: both Next and John Lewis reported strong festive period sales
Christmas shoppers: both Next and John Lewis reported strong festive period sales

Next has followed John Lewis in reporting strong sales growth over Christmas, defying tough trading conditions in the process.

Next saw its sales from 1 November to 24 December increase by 3.9% year on year, with the growth being driven by an 11.2% surge in its online Next Directory business.

The retailer is now expecting profit before tax of at least £611m for the full year ending January 2013, a year-on-year increase of 7.1%.

Next announced its results this morning (3 January), the day after John Lewis revealed bumper Christmas trading following a like-for-like sales growth of 13.0% for the five weeks to 29 December.

John Lewis credited its Christmas TV campaign, which featured a snowman on a romantic quest, with ensuring it was talked about in the key Christmas trading period.

Peter Ruis, brand and buying director at John Lewis, said: "Our Christmas TV advertising has become a real talking point over the past few years and ‘The Journey’ was no exception, notching up over 3 million hits on YouTube and seeing an incredible response from customers.

"The campaign was more integrated than ever, with our Snowman featuring on in-store branding, products such as the Knit your own Snowman kit, and even travelling around the UK to meet customers face-to-face.

"However, I think our ad resonated because people view John Lewis as an authentic brand. Great advertising won’t work in isolation, it needs to be backed up by inspiring products in our shops and a slick online operation, all of which combined this year to give us some great financial results."

Online sales for the five weeks were 44.3% up on last year, with the take-up of the service resulting in sales from now accounting for a quarter of the total John Lewis business.

Andy Street, managing director at John Lewis, said: "Sales at broke through the £800m milestone during December, supported by an excellent performance from our click-and-collect facility, which allows customers the flexibility to buy online and collect from John Lewis and Waitrose outlets."

Next is predicting trading conditions will remain tough in 2013 due to price inflation rising ahead of wage inflation, resulting in a "subdued" consumer environment. 

As a result, the retailer will continue to manage the business "defensively" through cost cuts, while seeking sales growth by investing in the Next Directory online business.

Despite the good performances of Next and John Lewis, it is expected other retailers will have performed badly as consumer confidence suffered in December

Morrisons' house broker Jeffries is forecasting the supermarket's boss Dalton Philips will reveal a like-for-like sales drop during next week's Christmas trading update. 

Meanwhile, HMV is locked in discussions with lenders as it approaches a breach of its banking covenants after a poor start to Christmas trading. 


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message