John Lewis sales fall for fourth week

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The Independent Online

Department store chain John Lewis today said sales fell 4.7 per cent last week, extending its run of negative trading figures into a fourth week.

Despite the year-on-year decline for the period to last Saturday, John Lewis said sales were up 9.5 per cent on the previous week's performance. The weekly haul of £48.5 million was also higher than the same week two years ago.

The only stores to grow sales last week were at Aberdeen and London's Oxford Street, with 12 outlets recording double-digit sales falls. The company's internet arm saw sales grow by 23 per cent, down on the 32 per cent rate seen a week ago.

Today's overall sales figure included a boost from the launch of a relocated branch in Liverpool, which John Lewis said opened to "acclaim from customers".

John Lewis spokesman Simon Fowler added: "A well co-ordinated closure of the old branch was followed by a smooth and efficient opening of the new, and trade far exceeded expectations."

The department store business, which has 26 branches, has been one of the strongest performers on the high street, helping profits for the John Lewis Partnership to rise £59.7 million to £379.8 million in the year to January.

At Waitrose, sales last week were up by 4.1 per cent on a year earlier, with trading impacted by torrential rain on Bank Holiday Monday.