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Jul 24, 2009
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John Lewis weekly sales up, boosted by clearance

By
Reuters
Published
Jul 24, 2009

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - John Lewis, the employee-owned group seen as a barometer of UK retail spending, said its week to July 18 performance was one of its best of the year as department store sales rose with shoppers snapping up clearance goods.


Womenswear at John Lewis

Sales at the group's 27 UK department stores were 52.61 million pounds ($86.90 million), up from 49.98 million pounds in the same week last year.

"A one-off correction to first-half sales of fitted kitchens boosted what would have been +2.9 percent to +5.3 percent," John Lewis said.

The company said trade at its department stores was unaffected by last week's unpredictable weather and sporting events -- the Ashes cricket and the Open golf.

Toys, nursery and haberdashery led the way with a 13 percent increase in sales, while men's and sports grew 10 percent and women's accessories and beauty were up 8 percent.


John Lewis Partnership weekly sales results to 18 July - Source: www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk

"John Lewis sales are currently being lifted recently by people taking advantage of their clearance sales, while fashion sales were also reported to have been boosted by new-season lines," said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight.

"With sharply reduced mortgage payments and moderating inflation boosting many people's purchasing power, it seems that they are currently more able and willing to step up their discretionary spending when circumstances are particularly attractive, such as when there is increased discounting or the weather is good."

However, the group is bullish about its prospects for the final weeks of the first-half.

"We have significant opportunity that the school holiday provides; in Scotland this is of course already well under way. We have some new-season products coming while still dealing with pockets of clearance products," John Lewis said.

Sales at John Lewis' chain of 213 Waitrose supermarkets increased 12.7 percent to 84.4 million pounds. ($1=.6053 pounds) (Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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