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Published
Jul 17, 2009
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John Lewis says has one of best weeks of year

By
Reuters
Published
Jul 17, 2009

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - John Lewis, the employee-owned group seen as a barometer of UK retail spending, said its week to July 11 performance was one of its best of the year so far, even though sales at its department stores still fell. Sales at the group's 27 UK department stores were 54.3 million pounds ($89.1 million), down from 55.2 million pounds in the same week last year.


"We missed matching last year's level of trade by just 1.6 percent, making week 23 one of the better weeks of the year thus far," John Lewis said.

"The weather became more changeable as the week progressed and that was reflected in the sales growth we enjoyed on Friday (10 July) and Saturday (11 July)."

Fashion sales increased 4.0 percent but sales in the home category were down 4.2 percent and in electricals and home technology fell 3.8 percent.

"The reduced year-on-year falls in John Lewis sales is welcome, given that the stores are seen as a good bellwether for the state of consumer spending," said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight.

"Nevertheless, it remains to be seen to what extent this is the consequence of consumers taking advantage of the Clearance sales and to what extent it reflects the fact that consumers may be becoming modestly more prepared to spend compared to earlier this year."

Sales at John Lewis' chain of 213 Waitrose supermarkets increased 12.1 percent to 85.0 million pounds. (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Mark Potter)

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