John Lewis forecasts less discounting at Christmas

The effect of the recession on Britain is set to continue over the Christmas period with less discounting and festive sales on the high street. This week Drapers reported that John Lewis managing director Andy Street has forecast that there will be less high street discounting during the crucial festive period as the department store said that sales fell by 2.9% to £1.21bn over the first half.

In this report Street said like-for-like sales at the retailer fell 4.7% in the first half to August 1. Operating profit, excluding property profit, was down 49% to £20.1m. He went on to say that the performance was better than expected and that the department store was bullish about the prospects for Christmas.

However, it seems that it is the fashion part of the department store has been continuously doing well as sales rose 2.2% over the first half. Total online sales rose 11.6% to £151.5m over the half and the retailer has re-launched its fashion website with 200 brands. It will open its 28th store in Cardiff on September 24. It shows that even during the recession, when people are cutting back on luxuries, customers are still willing to spend on clothing on looking good.

See also Retail Week