Christmas sales boost for John Lewis

<p>Sales rose at John Lewis over the Christmas period.</p>

John Lewis has confirmed that it saw a strong rise in its sales over the Christmas period.

The department store chain revealed that like-for-like sales at its stores were up 1.2 per cent, while the biggest improvement was seen online, with a 23 per cent boost to sales compared to the figures recorded for 2012.

Managing director Andy Street told the BBC that sales through its click-and-collect service were among the biggest reasons for its rise in sales, with this part of the business expanding by 60 per cent in 2013 when compared to the previous year.

"Our shops and our online channel, bricks and clicks, came together and it's a story of the two being hand in glove and that giving the customer what they really wanted and then we got the pricing right on top of that," he said.

John Lewis' city centre stores experienced record sales on December 23rd as British shoppers looked to finish off their Christmas shopping at the last minute. John Lewis, unlike many of the other major retailers across the country, elected not to discount its goods in the run up to Christmas last year.

Debenhams performance

In contrast to the strong performance recorded by John Lewis for the 2013 Christmas period, rival firm Debenhams announced that it did not experience the anticipated final surge in sales in the last week of the festive sales period.

Analysts had been expecting pre-tax profits of £110 million for the six months to April 2014, but the company warned this figure is now likely to be in the region of £85 million instead.

Michael Sharp, the chief executive of Debenhams, said: "As has been widely commented on in the media, the market was highly promotional in the run up to Christmas and we responded to these conditions to ensure our offer was competitive. However, this extremely difficult environment has inevitably had an impact on both our sales and profitability."

Despite this, the share price of Debenhams is slightly higher in the early stages of this morning's (January 2nd) trading session. By 08:28 GMT, its stocks were up by 1.16 per cent.

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