John Lewis has hailed a strong Christmas trading period despite fewer customers visiting its department stores.
The retail chain said like-for-like sales were up 5.1% as online revenues rose 21.4%.
In store, sales were down 1.2% over the six week period, reflecting lower footfall before Christmas, but were up 16.2% during the first week of clearance ending January 2.
John Lewis said patterns of trade shifted significantly, characterised by three sales peaks: Black Friday, Christmas and clearance.
Over the Black Friday weekend, its distribution teams processed 18% more parcels than last year, which equated to five units per second during the peak hour.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, commented: “Our strong Christmas trading performance gives us further confidence in the guidance provided at our interim results in September, where we indicated that we expected the full year Profit before Partnership Bonus, tax and exceptionals to be between £270m and £320m.
“This guidance reflected both good operational progress but also an increase of approximately £60 million in pension charges as a result of market driven volatility. Our guidance therefore remains unchanged.”
The John Lewis Partnership will report its full year results ended 30 January 2016 on 10 March 2016.