John Lewis early September is weak but some fashion categories perform

It was a disappointing week for fashion at John Lewis in the seven days to September 2 but, to be honest, it looked like a disappointing period for most categories it sells as the retailer saw its total sales falling for once.

John Lewis

Sales only dropped by 0.5% to £87.1 million but John Lewis is unaccustomed to its sales figures being in negative territory so it’s big news. But what actually went wrong?

Well, the retailer didn’t tell us what performed badly, or the cause, although we did hear about the areas that were strong. Fashion sales rose only 1%, but beauty was up a healthy 11.5% with fragrance doing particularly well. And in clothing, both John Lewis casual and formalwear did well too.

Home was down 5.5% in part due to the chain annualising price match promotions in the same week last year. But its strong performers included beds (up 4.7%), and outdoor living (up 8.5%) as shoppers presumably tried to make the most of some late summer sunshine.

Electricals and home technology had a stronger week, up 2.8% with standout performances in vision (up 5.8%) and small electricals (up 6.9%).  Wearable Technology also had a good seven days (up 52%), as did Apple, driven by strong MacBook sales.

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