John Lewis warning over 'Black Friday' online sales

By Amy, Eastpoint Software on 06 January 2015

John Lewis has announced last year's sales figures and it was a bumper year for their 'Black Friday' sale, with the retailer recording it's biggest trading week on record. But they were also down on their Christmas week sales compared to last year.

Sales - YAY! Or maybe not...

The BBC reported that Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, hoped that Black Friday had reached its peak and questioned how sensible it is to focus so much trade and discounting on that one day.

In essence, he is saying - we sold more on Black Friday, but we had to sell at a discount, and less was bought later on. So essentially they are selling the same amount of stuff overall, but more of it bought at a discount. While it evened itself out this year, logic suggests the trend could lead to a loss in profit.

And it seems that the huge amounts of sales in that weekend did hoover up potential later sales. The Guardian reported that John Lewis had a 14.7% decline for electrical goods in the last shopping week before Christmas, compared to last year. John Lewis were also down 1.4% overall compared to last year, for the week finishing December 27 (with the caveat that last year, the Christmas week sales had one fewer 'clearance sale' days).

However, if you cast the net wider, overall sales in the five weeks to December 27 rose 4.8% compared to last year.

Online shopping

Ecommerce faired well at John Lewis this year. Let's look at some stats:

  • Online shopping sales up 19%
  • Of those, 56% were via the click-and-collect service (an increase of 30% from last year)
  • Online sales were credited for a 7.8% overall sales boost for fashion and beauty

Is Black Friday a good idea?

Black Friday is of course an American idea that has become popular over here - did anyone else feel that this year, it was publicised and hyped more than previous years? Do you think next year will be even more full-on, or this will be a fad that we'll get tired of? 

The worry for retailers is that consumers will opt for the discounted Black Friday deals and not buy the full-price items closer to Christmas. But are we really that organised? What do we all think?