John Lewis weekly sales surge as Britons embrace Black Friday

LONDON Sun Dec 1, 2013 2:40pm GMT

Shoppers pass John Lewis department store on Oxford Street in London December 8, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Shoppers pass John Lewis department store on Oxford Street in London December 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's biggest department store chain John Lewis posted an 18.4 percent jump in sales in the week to November 30, boosted by a surge in online sales of iPads, televisions and PS4s, and the growing popularity of "Black Friday" discounts.

Black Friday marks the start of holiday season shopping in the United States, but has been increasingly adopted by British retailers, which have also embraced the U.S. tradition of offering discounts and promotions to attract interest.

John Lewis said weekly sales rose to 147 million pounds (147 million pounds), including a 35.7 percent surge in online sales.

"Any doubt over whether UK consumers are interested in Black Friday has been cast aside as record sales were notched up online and via mobile devices for John Lewis," online director Mark Lewis said in a statement on Sunday.

The chain's online sales on Friday were more than double its previous record for a single day's trade on johnlewis.com, it said.

However, the sales surge could be eclipsed by online purchases on Monday, which is expected to be Britain's busiest internet shopping day.

Visa Europe predicts a 16 percent rise to 7.7 million online shopping transactions compared with the same Monday in 2012.

"A combination of pay day for the majority of consumers falling on the last Friday of the month and a weekend spent browsing the shops, results in shoppers logging on to buy their gifts online on the subsequent Monday," Visa Europe said.

John Lewis predicted that iPads, cashmere and Uggs-branded products would be the most sought products at its online store.

The 149-year-old firm has been winning market share from high-street rivals in recent years due to its strong online offering, modern stores and a more affluent customer base. Last Christmas it reported record sales, while rivals, such as Marks & Spencer endured poor trading in a tough market.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Mark Potter)

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