Retailer John Lewis has said it may be seeing the first signs of a consumer backlash against companies consumers believe are trying to avoid tax. Johnlewis.com’s major competitor is Amazon.com, one of the companies targeted by campaigners.
Mr Street said: “If we look at our online trade, the last three weeks have been really dramatic. The increases there are about 40% year-on-year. That coincides with the observations about paying corporation tax and I think our customers expect John Lewis to be a responsible business in every sense of that. That extends from the conditions in the supply chain through to paying the right amount of corporation tax.”
The company said it recorded its best ever online sales of £7.3m on the first Monday in December. Dubbed Mega Monday, it was the day people returned to work after payday and could place orders online in time to arrive for Christmas. Online sales for the week as a whole were £42m, helping to drive overall sales at the department store 15% ahead of the same week last year at £142m.
The comments by Mr Street are amid mounting concern about the tax policies of big international firms in the UK. Last month, Amazon, alongside Google and Starbucks, came under fire from MPs when they appeared before the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee. Also in November, Mr Street became the first leader of a British business to call on the Government to examine the way foreign multinationals pay tax in the UK. He told Jeff Randall Live that the Treasury needs to do more to prevent the likes of Amazon “destroying the UK tax base” and potentially putting British companies out of business.