Full-year sales at UK’s John Lewis department stores could fall 35%


FILE PHOTO: General view of a John Lewis store in Croydon, March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s John Lewis Partnership said sales at its department store chain could decline by around 35% over the full year in a worst case scenario due to the coronavirus crisis, it said on Tuesday.

The employee-owned group, which also owns the Waitrose supermarket business, said sales at John Lewis were down 17% year-on-year since the middle of March and down 7% since 26 January. Waitrose sales are up 8% since Jan. 26.

The company, which has shut all its department stores in the national lockdown, said it had seen a surge in online demand but said many of the most sought after items were in less profitable lines. “We are buying more Scrabble but fewer sofas,” it said.

Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by James Davey

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