Velour tracksuits and non-wired bras out as shoppers put lockdown behind them

Non-wired bras, velour tracksuits, jigsaws and wall-mounted desks have fallen out of favour with British shoppers as they put the lockdown lifestyle behind them, annual John Lewis sales figures suggest.

The retailer’s annual How We Shop, Live And Look report suggests customers are “casting off the trappings of a life in lockdown” with sales of non-wired bras down by a third, sales of loungewear velour tracksuits falling by 50% and wall-mounted desks removed from sale altogether, as “we reclaimed our homes and left the office at the office”.

Households also appear to have had enough of jigsaws, with sales down 68% on last year.

In an indication that householders are returning to lunches outside the home, sales of soup makers fell by 12% and bread bins were down 42%, while sales of commute-ready laptop bags rose by 20% and travel mugs by 65%.

Soup maker
Soup makers have fallen out of fashion with John Lewis buyers (JohnLewis/PA)

Instead, sales of occasion hats were up 168% as customers attended weddings and other social events again, “smart” menswear sales were up 60%, ironing board sales were up 19% and the retailer saw sales of perfume increase by 24%.

Elsewhere, though, consumers flummoxed the retailer by buying seven times more sheepskin Ugg boots than last year, while sales of 90s-style Casio watches were up 81%.

Sales of toastie makers were up 63% and shoppers “weren’t being gourmet about it”, John Lewis noted, with sales of sliced white bread up 17% at Waitrose.

A John Lewis spokeswoman said: “This year we’ve seen a profound shift in shopping behaviour. Customers have enjoyed the return of travel, part time office working and in-store shopping.

“But our in-depth analysis has shown that the combination of  living in an always-on digital world and the societal shift accelerated by Covid have cemented our appreciation of the everyday.

“Shoppers are still wanting products to help them make the most of everyday moments such as having family and friends over for dinner and prioritising their wellbeing.”