TVs fly off shelves as World Cup fever mounts

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The Independent Online

Department store chain John Lewis today said it sold a television every 30 seconds last week as viewers geared up for the World Cup.

The company saw a 36.4% rise in TV sales year-on-year ahead of the football extravaganza, which kicks off in South Africa next week.

The demand helped drive sales up almost 25% across the wider group, with the performance also aided by comparisons with half-term holidays a year ago.

The partnership saw "buoyant sales" of children's World Cup T-shirts, while football fever has also gripped the Waitrose supermarket chain owned by John Lewis.

Waitrose's total sales last week were up 12.4% on last year, with many shoppers showing support for South African products.

Wines from the host nation shot up 62% on the previous year, while South African themed barbecue products were also in demand.

The company has launched other goods for big-match parties including an all-day breakfast sausage with Bury black pudding as well as "World Cup-cakes".

John Lewis said sales from all stores were ahead of last year, while its online arm put in an "outstanding" performance. Trading so far this week had "started strongly" across the group, the partnership added.

Freddie George, retail analyst at Seymour Pierce, said: "Although it is clear that John Lewis is outperforming the wider market, these figures indicate that consumer spending remains surprisingly robust despite concerns about the outlook.

"As yet, higher fuel prices do not appear to have impacted sales in the out of town shopping centres."