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John Lewis reports record sales week thanks to Black Friday

Sarah Butler
Photograph: Matthew Chattle/REX/Shutterstock

Black Friday helped John Lewis ring up its best-ever week of sales with a 9.5% rise over 10 days.

The department store said sales via its mobile app rose 43% and several of its high street branches achieved record sales, adding to evidence that the annual discounting event gave retailers a much-needed boost.

Fashion and beauty jumped by 71% and homewares sales were up 18% compared with the same week last year, although this was largely the result of the timing of Black Friday, which fell in the previous calendar week in 2018.

The online fashion retailer Boohoo also said it had enjoyed a record Black Friday weekend and that its new brands Karen Millen, Coast and MissPap had been successfully integrated into the business.

The two retailers’ sales updates reflect an industry-wide boost from Black Friday during which Barclaycard, which processes about £1 of every £3 spent in the UK, said transaction value was up 16.5% compared with last year, with the volume of transactions up 7.2%.

While online retail enjoyed much of the benefit, physical stores also enjoyed a lift.

The number of shoppers out and about was up 3.3% on Black Friday in comparison with last year’s discount day, according to retail data company Springboard. It said shopping centres fared best, with visitor numbers up 6.5%.

Gordon McKinnon, operations director at Intu, owner of the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in Essex, said visitor numbers had remained strong across the weekend. He said total footfall for the three days across all Intu centres was up 6.9% compared with Black Friday and the following weekend last year.

But industry watchers warned that the Black Friday growth would not necessarily reflect a bumper Christmas.

Sales were helped by the timing of the event this year on 29th of the month which coincides with the monthly payday for millions of workers. Last year Black Friday was on 23 November, well before payday for many.

Shoppers also tend to delay or bring forward purchases to exploit Black Friday discounts, so the bumper takings this weekend could lead to thinner pickings later in the month.

Springboard said it was anticipating a lull in sales before a last-minute rush in the run-up to Christmas, with 21 December expected to be the busiest sales day of the year.