John Lewis reports record sales in runup to Christmas

Retailers are reporting brisk trade in the runup to Christmas with John Lewis reporting a second successive week of record sales in its stores and online.

Fortnum & Mason in central London said Saturday had been an exceptional day and that its tills recorded their best trading hour – between 3pm and 4pm. Harrods also reported a strong week, while other traders in central London said footfall was up 5.5% on last year.

John Lewis saw an 11% increase in sales to £148m in its stores compared with the 15% rise year on year reported the week before. The online operation took £43m.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “While John Lewis’s performance was relatively impressive, it is notable that sales growth was down from the previous week.

“This suggests that there is, so far at least, not a strong building up of momentum for retailers as Christmas spending heads towards its climax.”