The Waitrose supermarket chain has seen its sales surge as shoppers stocked up on essentials but with all its 50 shops shut and trade moving online, John Lewis has seen its sales fall seventeen per cent since the lockdown.

Waitrose has seen strong sales growth up 8% year-on-year since 26 January. Items in highest demand have been cupboard essentials like rice, pasta, long life milk; home baking; frozen foods and cleaning products.

Sales have increased in both  shops and online. Demand for home delivery has been especially strong and they have increased  capacity by 50%

In John Lewis, trading has been mixed. With stores closed, there has been a significant spike in online sales which are up 84% year-on-year since the middle of March.

The highest demand has been in areas linked to working and living at home like technology and food preparation but also in looking after and entertaining our children and keeping fit. However, these are some of our less profitable lines.

Overall, John Lewis sales are down 17% year-on-year since the middle of March, and down 7% year-on-year since 26 January.

In a statement, Chairman Sharon White said:

“We are confident that the future of the business is strong. Our short term trading has though been significantly affected, principally because of the closure of all 50 John Lewis branches. John Lewis online remains open – providing essential goods and services to enable customers to live well at home – and online sales are substantially up on last year. But it has not been enough to offset the loss of shop trade. Demand at Waitrose has risen sharply but operating costs have increased too, especially as we have expanded online delivery.”


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