Slippers, ties: John Lewis reveals his Covid winners and losers | John lewis


As the pandemic reduced our worlds to four walls at times, slippers, pizza ovens and hot tubs became must-have items in the year we all stayed at home.

John Lewis’s retail report, which identifies the top buying trends of the past 12 months, found shoppers “couldn’t get enough of the slippers,” with sales up 13%. Even with the feet hidden from view of Zoom, the British weren’t content with the standard bog slip-ons. John Lewis now sells more than 200 styles of slippers, having increased the size of its line by a fifth to include designer brands and the latest trends, including this winter sheepskin pumps and glamor faux fur trimmed with jewels. The best-selling pair were sheepskin-lined mules from Ugg which cost £ 80.

As social life was put on hold and more people worked from home, the going out look was ditched in favor of cozy comfort. Demand for pajamas and dressing gowns skyrocketed as victims included ties (down 75%), briefcases, makeup bags and flip flops, which saw a revival.

Tie sales were among the big losers, with John Lewis sales down 75% Photograph: Boyan Dimitrov / Alamy

The ninth edition of the report comes at a difficult time for the employee-owned retailer, which is part of the same group as Waitrose. It lists both successful and obsolete products (in 2018 it was DVD players, while in 2021 it was the end of the file cabinet) in a year when confinements cast doubt on the future of department stores.

Like offices and schools, John Lewis’ stores were forced to close for long periods of time. In the end, 16 of its outlets did not survive and the company gave up its annual staff bonus for the first time in 67 years as it invested in turning its fortunes around.

Pippa Wicks, executive director of the department store, said the unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 have “left a permanent mark on the way we shop.” “People have become clearer about what matters to them and their work-life balance has shifted towards life.”

She highlighted the radical change in shopping habits. Before the pandemic, around 40% of John Lewis’s purchases were made online or through click and collect. Today, that figure is between 60% and 70%, and sales through its app are up 15% to 25%.

The retailer’s analysis of its sales shows that people are using the cash available to transform apartments and homes into more versatile places that can serve as workspaces, classrooms and playgrounds – a trend that the retailer calls “broken plan life”.

Corner sofas, statement desks, ergonomic chairs and even pen pots were ‘in’, while those lucky enough to have gardens installed trampolines and hot tubs, where sales jumped 270% and 200% respectively during the year to the end of August. Sales of pizza ovens increased 195%.

The nation’s increase in screen time has also been written big. Britons spent a third of their waking hours watching TV or videos online in 2020 and they wanted bigger screens, with sales of “big televisions” – 75 inches and larger – up nearly 150%.

croc shoes
Sales of Crocs at John Lewis increased 58%. Photograph: Cristina Fumi / Alamy

As streaming services replaced social life, when people were persuaded to buy new things, they were often influenced by what they watched on TV at the time.

Line of Duty’s latest series sparked a surprise run in DS Arnott-inspired vests, while reuniting friends spurred demand for orange sofas and the makeup needed to recreate the looks of the fashion icon of the years. 90 Jennifer Aniston.

Nigella Lawson also caused a sensation, with sales of “micro-wa-ves” up 30% in December, perhaps thanks to her unique pronunciation. Sales of the new kitchen staple, the air fryer, billed as the unofficial lockdown gadget, have increased 400%.

With more and more people cooking from scratch, the chain saw record kitchenware sales, up 23%. With restaurant meals outlawed, people expanded their repertoire and turned homemade meals into an occasion, with sales of tablecloths, candlesticks and even napkin rings on the rise.

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Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley has emerged as an influencer both in and out of the pool. Sales of men’s Speedos doubled, and in August demand for needles and wool jumped nearly 90% after Daley was spotted knitting at stalls in Tokyo.

While slippers were all the rage indoors, the British looked for the outdoor equivalent when venturing outside. Croc sales grew nearly 60% as the Marmite shoe brand benefited from the validation of a gold pair on the Oscars red carpet.

The classic Croc, which costs £ 33, drew almost 33,000 reviews on John Lewis’s website and a five-star rating. In a review, Fernanda spoke on behalf of many converts saying they were “like wearing nothing at all.”



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