LONDON, United Kingdom — The snow storms that blasted Britain last week also battered department store chain John Lewis, with weekly sales slumping more than 14 percent, it said on Tuesday.
The cold snap, which had arrived from Siberia and was dubbed the the Beast from the East, hit transport networks, closed thousands of schools and deterred shoppers from venturing out.
Employee-owned John Lewis is the only major British retailer to update on weekly sales, providing the most up to date snapshot of consumer behaviour. It said that department store sales in the week to March 3 were down 14.4 percent year on year.
Fashion sales tumbled by 18.8 percent and homewares slid by 17.2 percent. While sales in the electricals and home technology category were down 6.3 percent, heating products provided the one bright spot with a 265 percent sales jump.
"Our partners across the network made an incredible effort to support trading after snowy weather across the UK impacted our sales and disrupted some of our operations," said John Lewis buying director Christine Kasoulis.
At the group's Waitrose supermarket business, sales increased by 0.7 percent as customers sought warming food and drink. Canned soup sales leapt by 50 percent.
John Lewis Partnership is scheduled to publish 2017-18 results on Thursday.
By James Davey; editor: David Goodman.