Xmas in August? John Lewis opens festive online store

xmas_2020There may still be four months and 122 “sleeps” until Christmas Day but John Lewis is wasting no time in getting into the festive spirit after launching its online seasonal store earlier than ever, following a 370% increase in searches on its website.

The retailer opened its online Christmas store yesterday, ten days earlier than last year, beating both Selfridges and Liberty, who are usually first out of the tinsel-covered blocks.

The move is a direct response to a huge surge in searches for festive items on its website, the company said, including people hunting down Christmas trees, cards, wrapping paper and baubles; a phenomenon that John Lewis believes has been triggered by lockdown.

John Lewis Partnership sister company Waitrose has also seen early festive interest, with a 42% rise in online searches for Christmas food during both July and August.

John Lewis’ Christmas buyer Jason Billings-Cray said: “Christmas celebrations mostly take place in our homes and we have seen how the lockdown has made people think more about their homes, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that people are already thinking about how they will decorate their homes this Christmas.

“From the hundreds of emails from customers asking to be alerted when specific decorations become available, it looks as if animal baubles will be the most popular this year with peacocks, squirrels and toucans topping the list of most wanted.”

However, those wanting to shop instore for their Christmas baubles will have to wait a little longer; John Lewis said that festive items will not be available in bricks-and-mortar stores until September 25, although Waitrose is starting slightly earlier on September 10.

According to a report by eBay Advertising released earlier this month, over a third (34%) of consumers who celebrate Christmas have already bought some festive-related items, including Christmas cards (17%), wrapping paper (16%) Christmas presents (13%) and Christmas decorations (8%). A small number (4%) even admitted to having already forked out on festive clothes and accessories – suggesting that, for some, Christmas spirit is well underway.

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