John Lewis sales slip for fourth week

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The Independent Online

Sales at the high-street bellwether John Lewis show no sign of improving after it posted a fourth consecutive week of falling numbers.

The department store's sales tumbled by 4.7 per cent to £48.5m for the week to 31 May. Only two of its 24 stores open for more than a year delivered an increase in sales.

The worst performer was its Peterborough store, which posted sales down 20.4 per cent, while Cribbs Causeway's were down 15.6 per cent.

The Blue Oar analyst Greg Lawless said these were "poor numbers" for John Lewis, which is a barometer for the UK high street. "The only bright star is that it looks like clothing sales are holding up, but everything is going backwards at a significant rate. If John Lewis is finding life tough, so too will other department stores, together with the electricals boys," said Mr Lawless.

He pointed out that the department store's dotcom site grew sales by only 22 per cent, against a year-to-date run rate of 34 per cent.

For the week to 31 May, John Lewis said its electrical and home technology sales fell by 10.8 per cent. However, John Lewis posted fashion sales up by 5.6 per cent for the week, with womenswear, childrenswear and beauty departments performing strongly.

Next week, John Lewis, which has 26 stores, will launch a £2m advertising campaign that highlights different elements of its shopping experience.

The John Lewis Partnership supermarket chain Waitrose posted sales up 4.1 per cent for the week to 31 May, despite torrential rain across much of the country for the bank holiday.