Christmas rush and Amazon backlash spurs record John Lewis sales

John Lewis has recorded its best ever week of sales and the department store chain’s boss believes the fillip has been driven at least in part by the tax backlash against rivals such as Amazon.

Andy Street, the managing director of John Lewis, said that customers are “trusting” the retailer amid criticism of rivals such as Amazon for the lack of tax they pay in the UK.

“I can’t prove it, but it definitely has been good, I’d call it background publicity for us,” Mr Street told Sky News, adding that paying tax “is about morality”.

He added: “I think our customers expect John Lewis to be a responsible business in every sense of that, to be a good citizen and that extends from the conditions in the supply chain, through to paying the right amount of corporation tax.”

Mr Street said that John Lewis has seen a 40pc year-on-year rise in online sales in the last three weeks.

The rise in online sales included “Mega Monday” on December 3, which is estimated to have been the busiest day of online shopping ever in the UK as people returned to work after payday to order online in time for Christmas. John Lewis recorded sales of £7.3m on “Mega Monday”, a new record for the retailer.

The spike in online sales helped overall revenues in the week for John Lewis which has 37 shops in the UK to increase 15pc to £142m.

The colder weather helped boost sales of coats, scarves and knitwear at the department store, with wax jacket brand Barbour proving popular. Toys such as Lego and Apple’s new range of tablets and computers are also selling well, according to the retailer.

Mr Street said he expects John Lewis to break its sales record again before Christmas and claimed there is light at the end of the tunnel for the UK economy.

He added: “What we don’t want is any big shocks that take the numbers negative and we’re planning next year for continued small growth. The reason I say that is obviously inflation is coming down at the same time as pay rises are reasonable, so for the first time customers have actually got just that little bit more money in their pockets.”