Slippers up, ties down: John Lewis reveals its Covid winners and losers | John Lewis

Because the pandemic at occasions diminished our worlds to 4 partitions, slippers, pizza ovens and sizzling tubs turned among the must-have objects within the 12 months all of us stayed at dwelling.

The John Lewis retail report, which identifies the important thing buying developments of the previous 12 months, reveals customers “couldn’t get sufficient of slippers”, with gross sales up 13%. Even with toes hidden from view on Zoom, Britons weren’t content material with bog-standard slip-ons. John Lewis now sells greater than 200 kinds of slippers, having elevated the scale of its vary by a fifth to incorporate designer manufacturers and the newest developments, which this winter included sheepskin slingbacks and glamorous bejewelled fake fur. The bestselling pair had been sheepskin-lined mules from Ugg that price £80.

As social lives had been placed on maintain and extra individuals labored from dwelling, the going out look was ditched in favour of cosy consolation. Demand for pyjamas and dressing robes rocketed whereas the casualties included neck ties (down 75%), briefcases, make-up baggage and thongs, which had been having fun with a revival.

Gross sales in neck ties had been among the many massive losers, with gross sales at John Lewis down 75% {Photograph}: Boyan Dimitrov/Alamy

The report’s ninth version comes at a troublesome time for the employee-owned retailer, which is a part of the identical group as Waitrose. It identifies the hit merchandise in addition to the out of date (in 2018 it was DVD gamers, whereas in 2021 it was the tip of the road for submitting cupboards) in a 12 months when lockdowns put the way forward for department shops unsure.

Like workplaces and faculties, John Lewis’s retailers had been pressured to shut for lengthy durations. Ultimately, 16 of its shops didn’t survive and the corporate ditched its annual workers bonus for the primary time in 67 years because it invested in turning round its fortunes.

Pippa Wicks, the division retailer’s govt director, mentioned the unprecedented occasions of 2020 and 2021 had “left a everlasting mark on how we store”. “Individuals have develop into clearer about what issues to them and their work-life steadiness has shifted in the direction of life.”

She pointed to the ocean change in buying habits. Earlier than the pandemic about 40% of John Lewis purchases had been made on-line or by way of click on and accumulate. Right now that determine is between 60% and 70%, and gross sales via its app are up from 15% to 25%.

The retailer’s evaluation of its gross sales reveals that persons are utilizing any spare money to show flats and homes into extra versatile locations that may double as workspaces, school rooms and playgrounds – a pattern the retailer calls “damaged plan dwelling”.

Nook sofas, assertion desks, ergonomic chairs and even pen pots had been “in”, whereas these fortunate sufficient to have gardens put in trampolines and sizzling tubs, the place gross sales jumped 270% and 200% respectively within the 12 months to the tip of August. Gross sales of pizza ovens had been up 195%.

The nation’s enhance in display time was additionally writ giant. Britons spent a third of their waking hours watching TV or on-line movies in 2020 and so they needed larger screens, with gross sales of “massive TVs” – 75 inch-plus – up almost 150%.

Crocs shoes
Gross sales of Crocs at John Lewis had been up 58%. {Photograph}: Cristina Fumi/Alamy

As streaming companies changed social lives, when individuals had been persuaded to purchase new issues they had been typically influenced by what they had been watching on telly on the time.

The ultimate sequence of Line of Responsibility triggered a shock run on DS Arnott-inspired waistcoats, whereas the Buddies reunion boosted demand for orange sofas and the make-up wanted to recreate the appears of the 90s trend icon Jennifer Aniston.

Nigella Lawson additionally made a splash, with gross sales of “micro-wa-vés” up 30% in December, maybe due to her distinctive pronunciation. Gross sales of the brand new kitchen must-have, the air fryer, billed because the unofficial gadget of lockdown, had been up 400%.

With extra individuals cooking from scratch, the chain rang up report cookware gross sales, up 23%. With eating out off-limits, individuals expanded their repertoires and turned homecooked meals into an event, with gross sales of tablecloths, candlesticks and even serviette rings all up sharply.

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The Olympic gold medal-winning diver Tom Daley emerged as an influencer each out and in of the pool. Gross sales of males’s Speedos doubled, and in August demand for needles and wool jumped almost 90% after Daley was noticed knitting within the Tokyo stands.

If slippers had been all the fad indoors, Britons sought the outside equal once they ventured out. Croc gross sales had been up almost 60% because the Marmite footwear model benefited from the validation of a gold pair on the Oscars crimson carpet.

The basic Croc, which prices £33, has attracted almost 33,000 critiques on the John Lewis web site and a five-star ranking. In a single assessment, Fernanda spoke for a lot of converts when stating they had been “like sporting nothing in any respect”.

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