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John Lewis and the Online Christmas

After putting the tinsel and tree away for another year, several retailers have had announced an increase in sales over the Christmas period. The big winners seem to be supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and department stores, John Lewis and House of Fraser.  Many of these retailers saw an increase in like for like sales as well as increases in on line sales. John Lewis announced that online sales for the festive period were 44.3 per cent up on last year. They also stated that sales from their website accounted for a quarter the total John Lewis business.John Lewis’ Managing Director, Andy Street, said that the company’s growth online was not at the expense of its stores. Instead, he described how the company had their best online day of trading on the launch of their clearance website, and their best trading day ever when opening their stores after Christmas. Street added that ‘both channel were growing together’.Tesco, John Lewis and House of Frasier have taken advantage of ‘click and collect’. Customers have found this a more convenient way of shopping. This again highlights the change in consumer buying habits.However, there was disappointment for some companies this Christmas. Morrisons saw a drop in like for like sales. Fingers have been pointed to their lack of online offerings. It has been suggested that they have not evolved and moved as quickly towards multi-channel retailing as their rivals. In a recent statement, Morrison realised the importance of accelerating other channels, such as online. HMV and Blockbusters are worst-case examples of companies who failed to adapt their business models to include a bigger online presence.Research from Experian suggested that on Boxing Day, there was a 17% increase of hits on websites and a 0.64% increase of high street visitors compared to last year. Whilst the growth on the high street was small, it was still a growth. A model utilising both stores and online may improve retailer’s sales figures.Wayne Hemmingway suggested that the high street stores needed to diversify. He described the success of John Lewis and pointed out that you can eat and socialise in these stores. As shown by their Christmas figures and the comments made by Andy Street; both their store-based and online sales are very successful.Whilst it may be argued that a department store will always be more successful during Christmas, due to offering all products under one roof; companies may need to try and evolve like John Lewis. They have demonstrated a successful model on how to unify in store and online channels together for their greater good of their group. Image courtesy of Yuichi Isris – Wikimedia Commons

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