Paul Coby1

Overall and online sales grow, as does the team size for department store retailer John Lewis IT Director Paul Coby.

In the five weeks to Christmas mutual retailer John Lewis reported an increase in like-for-like sales of 4.8%, with online sales increasing by 19%.

John Lewis said in a statement today that click and collect from its stores was 56% of online sales, which suggests the organisation’s strategy to increase the number of stores it operates is on the money.

As IT leader Paul Coby told this title last year, the retailer saw an increase in sales on Christmas Day, an increase of 19%, which John Lewis said was especially high at 9pm on Christmas Day as it claimed consumers shopped with mobile devices whilst watching ITV’s Downton Abbey.

IT Director Paul Coby will be pleased with the increase in online transactions as co-chair of the Online Board at John Lewis.

Recently Coby has formed groups to improve business processes, data management, security and the much reported JLAB for innovation. For 2015 the IT headcount at John Lewis has increased to 490 staff from 270 when Coby joined the retailer from his previous career as CIO of British Airways.

John Lewis is considered by many in the CIO community as an example of omni-channel retailing as its online and physical department store business thrive.

"The great thing was that the stores and online grew," Coby said of last year’s results and although sales in store were flat for the Christmas just passed, the IT leader can draw positives from the latest results.

"Mobile traffic has grown enormously as people want immediacy. As a result, we have changed the navigation and the checkout is better,” Coby said of Christmas 2013.

"None of these results would have happened unless the back end of the business is well built in. It is the whole thing working together and that is the essence of the John Lewis proposition. Our offering is the integration of the shops, online, mobile, call centre and social, too,” Coby said.