Operating profits rise as department store chain posts financial results

Tablets were John Lewis’ top-selling product of 2013

Tablet computers were the top-selling product in John Lewis’ 2013-14 financial year, beating over 300,000 other products.

Sales in the department store chain rose 7.5 per cent year-on-year to £3.3 billion, while operating profit increased 4.3 per cent to £226.1 million.

John Lewis stocks over 350,000 separate lines in its 40 department stores, from home to fashion and beauty, giftware and electricals, with more than 250,000 products online. 

"We’re a market leader in the electronics and home technology sector, so it’s fitting that 2013/14’s best selling products were tablets," said John Lewis in a statement.

Online sales grew 19.2 per cent year-on-year, meaning the online share of John Lewis’ overall sales now stands at 28.1 per cent.

Additionally, in the final pre-Christmas week (ending 21st December), John Lewis broke the £160m barrier for the first time with sales of £164m, and the first day of ‘clearance’ was the largest ever for both its shops and website.

For the first time this year, traffic from tablets and mobile phones to johnlewis.com overtook visits from desktops, making up 76 per cent of total traffic on Christmas Day.

The retailer’s latest financial report also revealed that 57 per cent of John Lewis Click & Collect orders are picked up at Waitrose branches. Plus, 64 per cent of its customers are ‘omni-channel’ (they shop using multiple channels including in-store and online/mobile), while 20 per cent shop in stores only and 16 per cent buy using the website only.

Furthermore, John Lewis’ new £97 million distribution centre will begin operations in 2015, alongside its existing Magna Park site in Milton Keynes, in a bid to boost its fulfilment capability.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman at the John Lewis Partnership, said: "This has been another good year for the Partnership. Both Waitrose and John Lewis increased market share for the fifth consecutive year, profit before exceptionals has grown by almost 10 per cent and, for the first time, we have achieved sales of over £10 billion.

"As a result of our performance, I am delighted that 91,000 Partners received a bonus of 15 per cent, equivalent to nearly eight weeks’ pay. The Bonus reflects the balance of a strong trading year, but also the increased costs of pension provision. The exceptional cost of £47 million, relating to holiday pay premiums (announced in August 2013), did not affect the bonus percentage."

Earlier this week John Lewis was voted top electricals retailer in terms of customer service.

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